Members of the Rehabilitation team work closely to manage each aspect of patient care. Our goal is to enhance the patient’s functional abilities as well as provide support and education to the family.
Your team may include all or some of the following:
The family is the primary advocate for the child’s needs and desires. Families provide continuous support throughout the acute stage, into rehabilitation and when the child returns home. The family provides detailed and insightful information about their child’s personality, interests and learning style.
A physiatrist is a physician specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R). A physiatrist is trained in caring for physically disabled patients. They have expertise in medical management and the prescription of braces and wheelchairs. Physiatrists are skilled in working with the interdisciplinary rehabilitation team to maximize the benefits of therapeutic interventions. PM&R residents, fellows and medical students function under the attending physiatrist.
Rehab Discharge Planner
The Discharge Planner is the patient advocate, who promotes the participation of the patient and family on an ongoing basis in the discussion and decision-making process as it relates to plans, goals and status. The discharge planner also maintains communication with family, primary care physicians, payers and rehab team members. In addition, they coordinate discharge planning for successful return to home, school and the community.
Rehab Nurse (RN)
The goal of rehab nursing is to assist the child in restoring and maintaining maximum health. Nurses conduct ongoing assessments of medical, physical, safety and cultural needs. They help the child and family incorporate what they have learned in therapy into their daily routine on the unit. Nursing clinical leaders are certified rehab nurses who are expert resources for the nursing staff and families. Patient care assistants (PCAs) and nursing students function under the direction of the RN.
Social Worker (SW)
The social worker advocates for the child and the family. They evaluate how the child’s injury or illness has affected family life and provide support and assistance in the utilization of resources in the community prior to discharge.
Physical Therapist (PT)
Physical therapists assist patients with their gross motor skills. They work on strengthening the body and legs to assist in mobility, transfers and walking as well as working to improve the child’s balance during sitting and standing activities. Physical therapists also assess the child’s coordination skills, such as running, hopping and jumping.
Occupational Therapist (OT)
Occupational therapists address physical, perceptual and cognitive deficits. OT works on self-care skills such as feeding, grooming and dressing. They provide adaptive equipment if necessary, along with special techniques to enhance independence. They work on building strength and coordination of the arms and hands. OT also works with the speech therapist to ensure eating and swallowing skills are performed safely.
Speech-Language Pathologist (SP)
The speech-language pathologist addresses communication and language skills. They work on listening, speaking and thinking skills and help the child with following directions and memory skills. Speech-language pathologists also work with the occupational therapist to ensure eating and swallowing skills are performed safely.
Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (TR)
The recreational therapist uses recreational or leisure activities to improve or maintain physical, mental, emotional and/or social functioning. Group activities are offered to encourage socialization and peer interaction. Community reintegration activities are used to practice daily living skills, mobility skills, street safety and other necessary life skills.
Child Life Specialist (CL)
Child life specialists are trained professionals with expertise in helping children and their families cope with health care experiences. Child life specialists minimize stress and anxiety of hospitalization through preparation and procedural support. They use play, developmentally appropriate language and teaching aids to increase patients’ and siblings’ understanding of illness, injury or diagnosis. Child life specialists provide individual or group play to aid in coping and adjustment opportunities.
The teacher provides services to those enrolled in a school program from kindergarten through 12th grade. Academic skills are assessed and instruction in deficit areas is provided. The teacher uses the child’s school materials as much as possible. Contact is maintained with the school throughout the child’s stay on the rehab unit. A school reintegration meeting may be held prior to discharge to discuss school-related issues with parents and school representatives. Learn more about our School Reintegration Program.
Early Intervention Teacher/Preschool (EI)
Early intervention provides services to children from birth to age five who either have developmental delays or are at risk for developmental delays. They perform a developmental screening on each child and participate in developmental play sessions. A referral may be made to appropriate community services prior to discharge.
The clinical nutritionist assesses the child’s nutritional status. They formulate a plan of care when there is nutritional risk, following the child’s progress throughout the rehabilitation process.
The rehabilitation psychologist assists the child and family with psychological issues such as agitation, anxiety, confusion and depression. The psychologist also assists the child and family in coping with the injury or illness and adapting to functional life changes.
The neuropsychologist provides specialized evaluation of cognitive processes associated with traumatic and nontraumatic brain injuries. Neuropsychological evaluation is typically completed toward the end of the inpatient rehabilitation stay. The results of the evaluation assist the physician and therapists in understanding the extent of the cognitive problems and aid in determining specialized school needs for discharge.
Massage Therapist (MT)
Licensed massage therapists use various techniques to enhance relaxation, relieve muscle tension and pain, reduce anxiety, enhance self-esteem and increase circulation, muscle strength and flexibility. They focus on parent teaching and enhancing feelings of safety and comfort.
For patients and families who are interested, we utilize a specially trained Facility Dog as part of our Rehabilitation Program. One of our trained therapists might use the dog during your child’s therapy sessions to help work on specific rehab-related goals.
Music Therapists use music and music interventions to target the motor, cognitive, sensory, emotional and/ or social needs of the patient. Treatment focuses on using the way the brain responds to music to support the patient’s rehab goals through the use of instruments, singing, songwriting, etc. Music therapy interns function under the direction of the music therapist.