About Us

CHKD has the only pediatric inpatient rehabilitation unit in Virginia. While most patients come from Virginia, North Carolina, and West Virginia, CHKD accepts referrals from anywhere in the country. Each case is individually reviewed by our medical team and discussed with the referring provider.

What We Do

CHKD's inpatient rehabilitation unit provides comprehensive care to children and teens that have had a change or loss of functional skills after an illness, surgery, or accident.

We help patients gain or regain lost skills or capabilities and maximize potential. We have eight beds in private rooms on a unit dedicated to pediatric rehabilitation.  

To help patients regain their daily living skills, the unit includes a mock kitchen and laundry units, as well as a jet runway in the main hall to mark distances of movement during therapies.

The unit is located next to our inpatient therapy gymnasium which offers pediatric-specific therapy equipment including the ZeroG Gait and Balance System

Conditions We Treat

  •  Amputation
  •  Stroke
  •  Feeding problems
  •  Joint disease
  •  Traumatic illness

We are able to care for children with a wide variety of health care needs including, but not limited to, tracheostomies, central lines, feeding tubes, dialysis, cancer treatment, wound care, and respiratory support services.

Our Team

Each patient who comes to the pediatric rehabilitation unit has a unique combination of skills and challenges, so many different specialists are involved in their care.

Our typical team members include:


Medical doctors specializing in pediatric physical medicine will be in charge of your child's care in the Rehab Unit. Your child may also see other doctors, such as pediatric hospitalists and resident physicians. CHKD patients also have access to pediatricians in more than 30 specialties, such as neurology, pulmonary medicine, medical genetics, and gastroenterology, should the need arise.

Rehabilitation nurses

Registered nurses (RN) who specialize in the care of young rehabilitation patients will spend the most time with your child and become a first "point of contact" for you with information about your child.

Physical therapists

These therapists work with large muscle groups on skills such as sitting, standing and walking. Physical therapists also help patients learn to use wheelchairs, walkers, or other special equipment.

Occupational Therapists

These therapists work small muscle groups on controlling parts of the body such as the hands and the mouth. Occupational therapists work on skills such as dressing and eating.

Speech therapists

These therapists will help patients regain or develop speech and language skills. They may also work with PT or OT with eating and drinking skills.

School instructors

CHKD's hospital school program is helping children 2-21 recover their thinking and reasoning skills and/or keep up with their classes while they're in the hospital.

Medical social workers

Medical social workers are available to help you adjust to your child's diagnosis or hospitalization and to help you connect with resources in the community that can assist you. Social workers can also help you make a smooth transition from hospital to home when it's time for your child to be discharged.

Rehabilitation coordinators

These nurses work with insurance companies for admission to the unit and will help at the end of your child's stay by coordinating the services and treatments that your child will need to continue at home.

Nutrition therapists

Registered dietitians will address any special dietary or nutritional needs your child may have.

Child life specialists

Play and recreation are vital to children's health, growth and development, even while they're in the hospital. Child life specialists help patients make a positive adjustment to hospitalization through age-appropriate activities.

Mental health specialists

CHKD's clinical social workers and mental health counselors are there to help rehab patients through their mental challenges as they heal. 

In addition to these members of our routine rehabilitation team, CHKD also works with orthotics and equipment companies, as well as audiology and augmented communication services, to aid in patient recovery and success.

Members of our inpatient rehabilitation team meet weekly with parents or guardians to discuss patient goals and progress. Our team uses the WeeFIM system, a standardized pediatric scoring system to assess patient progress during rehabilitation.

After discharge

Most children will require ongoing therapies and follow-up appointments after discharge. CHKD offers outpatient physical, occupational, and speech therapy services at a variety of locations, and our physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians have offices throughout Hampton Roads.

Learn About Our Approaches To ...

A young boy catches a ball in rehab gym

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of disability in children. Children with a brain injury can have problems with headaches, dizziness, sleep, memory, attention, focus, processing speed, depression, anxiety, PTSD, walking, talking, eating, and activities of daily living like bathing and going to the bathroom.

We strive to meet our patient’s needs throughout the full continuum of brain injury care:

  • Acute Care: from Emergency Department to hospital admission in our Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center.
  • Post-Acute Care: the only dedicated pediatric inpatient rehab unit in Virginia, or our satellite outpatient rehab centers located throughout Hampton Roads.

Because of the complexity of these brain injuries, we utilize a multi-disciplinary approach to diagnose, treat and provide ongoing care for children and families with brain injuries to include physical, cognitive and emotional treatment and the development of a framework to support the acute and chronic social impacts of brain injury.

 Among the treatment programs and tracking systems we employ are: 

  • Bioness Integrated Therapy System (BITS)
  • Lokomat Gait Training
  • Aquatic Therapy
  • Microcurrent treatment
  • VitaStim therapy
A child undergoing Zero G rehab training

Advanced technology and robotics

We incorporate the latest technology and assistive devices as part of our overall treatment strategy to restore and improve body movement and function.

Some of our therapeutic tools include:

  • Zero G Gait and Balance System: a Robotic body-weight support system on an overhead track for practicing a wide range of activities without the risk of falling.
  • BIODEX Balance system: static and dynamic balance testing and training.
  • Bioness Integrated Therapy System: assesses and treats the physical, visual, auditory, and cognitive deficits resulting from traumatic injuries and movement disorders. It can assess visuomotor coordination, reaction time, visuospatial perception, visual and auditory processing, working memory, physical and cognitive endurance.
  • Bioness neuroprosthetics: We utilize the L300 Go Foot Drop System and the H200 for hand paralysis.
A mom and son, with son in wheelchair

Pain management

Chronic pain management requires a multi-disciplinary approach focusing on education and family centered care. We approach chronic pain management using a combination of therapeutic interventions, patient and family education, and pharmacologic management when appropriate. We collaborate with our skilled therapists, community providers of complementary and alternative treatment options, mental health team and our pain/palliative medicine specialist.

We focus on chronic pain syndromes related to neurologic, physiologic, and musculoskeletal origins. We also treat amplified musculoskeletal pain syndromes.

Our team provides a holistic approach to chronic pain with a compassionate focus aimed at empowering our patients and their families. 

Spasticity management

We offer a comprehensive spasticity management and treatment program. We understand that spasticity, a condition in which certain muscles are stiff and tight, can interfere with normal movement, speech and gait. An individualized treatment plan is presented to each patient that may include therapy, bracing, medications, focal botulinum toxin injections, or alcohol nerve blocks. We aim to help control spasticity in an effort to improve function. 

Focal botulinum toxin injections help spastic muscles relax for a period of 3-4 months to allow for improved movement and function. Alcohol nerve blocks are also used at times to limit the signal from the brain causing spasticity in certain muscle groups. Other treatment options include evaluation for and management of intrathecal baclofen pumps, evaluation/referral for surgical interventions including selective dorsal root rhizotomy, and orthopedic procedures.