700 Children's Blog

Inpatient Rehabilitation: Comprehensive Services to Treat the Whole Child

Sep 27, 2018
image of an inpatient rehab patient getting into a car

Inpatient rehabilitation programs are designed to provide comprehensive therapy services to children and adolescents who have had a significant illness, surgery or trauma. 

Pediatric patients who are recovering from a spinal cord injury, traumatic or non-traumatic brain injury, stroke, neurological disorder, severe illness or other potential life-altering event are still kids. They like playing and spending time with their friends and family. Each one will approach their recovery in a different way with different strengths and emotional needs. It is important to not only treat the whole child, but to also understand the whole child.

Comprehensive, family-centered, individually-tailored rehabilitation services are critical to the patient successfully achieving his or her fullest potential and recovery. The care plan must be designed to address the physical, developmental, social, psychological and educational needs of the patient and his or her family.

In the pediatric setting, we are not just talking about younger patients, we are also talking about patients who are changing during their rehabilitation because they are growing and developing. To provide individualized rehabilitative services for a child who is growing and changing it not only takes a team, it takes teams of teams.

Much like the adult world, patients have to meet admission criteria and be approved by insurance companies in order to be admitted to an inpatient rehabilitation programs.  Patients must have a need for core therapy services of occupational therapy, physical therapy and/or speech therapy services. Patients must be able to participate in 3 hours of the core therapy services per day. The patient must also have the potential to make improvements in function such as walking, talking, dressing, grooming, feeding and bathing.

Based on the patient’s need, other services that may compliment a core rehab therapy team may be:

  • School and Early Intervention services
  • Massage Therapy
  • Recreational Therapy
  • Music Therapy
  • Psychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Child Life Services
  • Social Work and more

The goal of rehabilitation is to return to home but also return to school life. This not only applies to cognitive activities, but socialization, exercise, sports and family time.

Family centered care should be the essence of a pediatric specialty rehab program. Patients and parents should be actively involved in decision making, daily rounds with the treatment team and discharge planning. This approach is an essential component of the successful transition home, getting back to school and back to being with their peers, families and friends.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital Inpatient Rehabilitation Program admits approximately 120 patients a year with an average stay of 19 days, which is shorter than the national average of 24.8 days. To learn more about the inpatient rehabilitation program at Nationwide Children’s click here.

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Cindy Iske
Rehabilitation Program Coordinator
Julie Apthorpe
Clinical Rehabilitation

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700 Children’s features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.