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Paediatric Rehabilitation Service


  • Inpatient Rehabilitation


     This service is offered to other Departments and wards across the RCH to provide advice and assistance in determining which children and young people may benefit from a rehabilitation program. Some may require only brief assessment without follow-up, while others will have a rehabilitation plan devised according to their functional needs. The rehabilitation team and other clinicians then determine with the family/carers what is the most suitable way of providing rehabilitation, either as an inpatient, day patient, or through community-based services

    Direct care

    Some children and young people need further time in hospital after acute care to focus on developing functional skills such as sitting and/or walking, communicating and self care, before they can return home. On admission to the Rehabilitation Inpatient area of the Kelpie ward on Level 1 North, the child and their family meet with the rehabilitation team to devise an appropriate program which usually includes a structured weekly timetable of therapy sessions to meet functional goals for their child. Family-team meetings are held regularly to ensure that there is a clear communication process and to help the family gradually prepare for home.

     The team consists of

    • Ward-based nurses
    • Doctors
    • Occupational therapists
    • Speech pathologists
    • Psychologists (Clinical pyschologists and Neuropsychologists)
    • Educational advisors
    • Social workers
    • Play and music therapists
    • Nurse specialists
    • Physiotherapists

    Ongoing communication is maintained with the referring medical or surgical team. Early in the inpatient admission, assessment and planning takes place for other services which the family may require after going home, such as attendant care, home- or local-based therapy, and a return-to-school plan. Most patients will be followed up in a rehabilitation clinic to review their progress and plan further services and programs as required. Often a paediatrician will also follow-up with the patient and family.

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    Ambulatory rehabilitation

    The Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service sees children who would benefit from a period of rehabilitation. Therapists work with the young person and their family to deliver goal –focused, developmentally appropriate and time- limited therapy programs.

    Young people seen by the service may have an acquired brain injury (trauma, stroke, tumour), spinal cord injury, complex neurological condition or recent surgical/medical intervention. The VPRS also have spasticity management program for young people with cerebral palsy (or similar) conditions. Spasticity management may include medications, Botulinum ToxinA, splinting and serial casting.

    The VPRS team includes rehabilitation doctors, nurses, clinical psychologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, social workers, speech pathologists, neuropsychologists, allied health assistants and education consultants, all working together to help your child.

    Interdisciplinary Clinic

    At your first appointment you will meet a rehabilitation specialist or paediatrician. Some other members of the VPRS team may also be at the clinic. Clinicians from the community who work with the child may also be invited to attend this clinic.

    Together we will develop a care plan which is a written document that outlines your goals and what actions we will take together to meet these goals. To develop the care plan we will ask questions about your current issues/concerns and ask you how you would like to things to improve or be different. A care plan is an agreement between our team and your family about how we will work together. At the end of this care planning session we will make appointments for you to see the appropriate members of the VPRS team.

    Specialist clinics combined with other medical consultants are also available if required. This includes:

    • Combined rehabilitation orthopaedic clinic (COR)
    • Combined rehabilitation plastics clinic (CRP)

    When is the clinic held?

    Interdisciplinary clinics are held on Mondays, Tuesdays Wednesdays and Thursdays between 9am and 3:30pm. All children and carers attending clinic will need to check in at Allied Health Precinct Reception, Specialist Clinic B on Level 1 East.

    Day Rehabilitation/ Therapy Blocks

    VPRS can provide therapy to achieve your child’s goals. This may be a block of weekly therapy, or multiple therapy sessions a day under a day rehabilitation style program.

    Group Programs

    The rehabilitation team offers a number of group programs. These programs work to target specific functional goals through group based therapy.

    ** Note that many of our group programs are currently impacted by the COVID19 Pandemic. We hope these will be returning soon. **

    How to refer to interdisciplinary clinics and ambulatory rehabilitation?

    Please see the referral page for more information.

    Chronic Fatigue Program

    The Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service (VPRS) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) Self-Management Program runs for 3 days per week, for a time period of 4 weeks. During the program, participants receive inter-disciplinary input in both a group and individual setting including Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Education and Psychology. Ongoing review is offered for the 6 months following the program.

    Participants are encouraged to become increasingly independent and knowledgeable about their own experience over the course of the program, with appropriate support from their family. The program sits within a Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT) framework and topics covered include Sleep Hygiene, Balancing Activity, Memory and Concentration, Movement, Pacing and Energy Conservation, School/Education and Setback Planning.

    How to refer to the Chronic Fatigue Program?

    Prospective participants (aged 12-17) are initially assessed by a CFS doctor in the Adolescent Medicine or General Medicine clinics before referral to the CFS program. Referrals to the CFS doctors can be directed to the RCH Specialist Clinics referral system (outpatients) , telephone 9345 6180.

    For more information regarding this program, please contact the rehabilitation team