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More Information about Acute Care Rehabilitation Services


The Acute Care Rehabilitation Services team at Children's Hospital provides a full range of inpatient care to your child during a hospital stay. Many of our hospital programs may refer your child to us depending on their needs. The following information will help you better understand some of the care your child may receive and when.

Discharge planning

We assess and promote recovery or acquisition of self-care skills, functional mobility, language and communication, and general developmental skills. We provide support and education for children and their caregivers as they approach discharging from the hospital. Frequently, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists are involved in deciding when a child is ready to leave the hospital and where they should discharge. In some cases, the child is safe to discharge home with home therapy, outpatient therapy, or without therapy. In other cases, the child may require a transition to another facility focused on rehabilitation. Our therapists provide caregiver education, home exercise programs, and assist with equipment needs to optimize discharge planning for each child.

Physical therapy

Children who have an acute illness or injury may be seen by physical therapy to assess their functional mobility. This includes a thorough assessment of strength, balance, range of motion, coordination, endurance, developmental skills, and walking. When a child is having difficulty in developing or regaining these skills physical therapists provide exercises, activities, adaptive equipment, and therapeutic play interventions to improve their functional mobility.

Occupational therapy

Children who have an acute illness or injury may be seen by occupational therapy to assess their ability to participate in all occupations of life, from play, school, sports, self-care, or recreational activities.  When a child is having difficulty with developing fine and visual motor skills, playing, drawing, bathing, brushing their teeth or going to the bathroom, occupational therapists may provide a strategy or adaptive approach, modify the environment, or provide equipment to help the child improve function and independence.

Speech therapy

Children who have an acute illness or injury may be seen by speech therapy to assess their speech-language, cognitive-communication, and/or feeding/swallowing skills. When a child is having difficulty in developing or regaining these skills, speech therapists provide interventions and education for children and families.

Specialty programs


OT and PT in the NICU provide an array of services from observational assessment of the smaller and more fragile preterm infants to developmental activities for babies who, due to chronic health problems may stay in our NICU past their first birthday. We provide evaluation, treatment and family/nursing education related to environmental supports appropriate for the infant’s age through the Supporting and Enhancing the NICU Sensory Experience (SENSE) Program, as well as developmentally supportive activities that are graded by age for positioning, strengthening, adaptive movements and family bonding/involvement.

Early mobility

Early mobility refers to a safe and proactive protocol for therapy involvement with critically ill children in the pediatric ICU and pediatric cardiac ICU. Physical therapy and occupational therapy are consulted within days of ICU admission to begin the recovery process to help patients work toward their functional baseline activities after a critical illness or injury. Speech therapists are also consulted to assist with feeding, swallowing and establishing adaptive communication strategies.

Cystic fibrosis

Patients with cystic fibrosis are at a significant risk for deconditioning and long-term lung dysfunction. Our physical therapy program for children with cystic fibrosis spans the acute setting and outpatient specialty clinic setting. The program focuses on the promotion of development and maintenance of strength, endurance, and functional capacity for these children to live an active lifestyle.


Our therapy team is trained to evaluate and treat both planned orthopedic surgeries and injuries that occur after a traumatic event. For planned orthopedic surgeries, we may see your child prior to their operation or post-operatively to provide appropriate assistive devices to ensure safety with mobility to navigate their home and community. For traumatic events, therapy services are consulted when it is medically safe for your child to get moving and we assist with the early phases of moving.

Champ training

Champ training is a physical therapy program for children diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Its primary goal is to limit the impact of the side effects of cancer and its treatment on children. The program focuses on maintaining physical activity inside and outside of the hospital.

Pain-associated disability syndrome

Our therapy team is experienced and knowledgeable in the evaluation and treatment of children and adolescents with a variety of disabling pain-related diagnoses. Our goal is to work as a part of a multidisciplinary team to restore function, instill confidence, and provide hope to restore overall health.

Liver Transplant Program

Our comprehensive liver transplant program spans the acute and specialty clinic setting. Therapists provide recommendations and treatment for patients prior to and after their transplant. During the child’s hospitalization, the program focuses on early mobility following surgery, family education and intensive therapies to improve the child’s ability to move after surgery as well as prevent deconditioning.


Our therapists are highly trained in working with patients on the cardiac floor. We start treatment from days after their admission or surgery until the day they are discharged or return to their level of functioning before coming to the hospital. Our therapists are trained to work with patients who are on ECMO, mechanical ventilation, VAD (ventricular assistive device), the Berlin Heart, and other life-sustaining devices while they are recovering from or preparing for their heart surgery.