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Paediatric Rehabilitation Service


  • Inpatient


     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
    • Educational advisors
    • Social workers
    • Play and music therapists
    • Nurse co-ordinators
    • 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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    Day rehabilitation

    Day rehabilitation programs are developed for children and young people who do not require overnight hospital care and who can safely be cared for at home.  This service is currently under development at the RCH.

    Children and young people may benefit from day rehabilitation services delivered in a variety of settings including:

    • Home
    • School
    • Childcare
    • Local community
    • Hospital
    • Community health centre

    The rehabilitation program involves a timetable of therapy appointments on specified day(s) of each week.  Where possible, day rehabilitation services are co-located and children and families work with several rehabilitation professionals on each day.  The location of services and the intensity of the program depend upon the rehabilitation goals, anticipated rate of change and availability of services.

    Day rehabilitation may involve shared-care between services in the local community and the Paediatric Rehabilitation Service at the Royal Children's Hospital.  Regular meetings are held with the rehabilitation team, families, schools and community agencies to communicate rehabilitation needs and progress.  Goals are regularly reviewed and the rehabilitation plan updated accordingly.

    Following completion of a Day Rehabilitation program, children and young people are reviewed in an outpatient clinic.

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    Ambulatory clinics

    Brain Injury Rehabilitation Clinic

    This clinic caters for children and young people who have sustained an acquired brain injury, such as a result of a fall, motor vehicle accident, stroke or infection, and who have ongoing difficulties with functioning and require the assistance of a rehabilitation team. Examples include problems with walking or posture, cognitive skills, communication, self care and manual (hand) skills.

    Each patient is initially seen by a Rehabilitation specialist or paediatrician. Clinicians from the community who work with the child and family are invited to attend this clinic. The Doctor and the family identify what are the child's/young persons functional limitations and then with community and hospital rehabilitation clinicians devise or modify the rehabilitation plan.

    Who can be referred to this clinic?

    Any child or young person who has sustained an acquired brain injury and who has ongoing difficulties with functional skills.

    When is the clinic held?

    The clinic is held each week on Thursday afternoon.  All children and carers attending clinic will need to check in at Allied Health Precinct Reception, Specialist Clinic B on Level 1 East.

    How to refer?

    Please see the referral page for more information.

    Physical Rehabilitation Clinic

    This clinic focuses on the physical needs of children and young people who have developmentally based or acquired conditions affecting their mobility and upper limb skills. This includes cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury and disorders, and other conditions where movement skills are affected.

    Each patient is seen by a Rehabilitation specialist or paediatrician, as well as physiotherpaists and occupational therapists. Input from community-based therapists who work with the child and family is essential. A number of treatment options may be discussed and offered to the family in order to improve the child's motor skills.   These may include splints to stretch muscles and joints, medicines to treat muscle stiffness (such as Botulinum Toxin), or Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy programs.  Clinicians in this clinic work very closely with Orthopaedic Surgeons, Neurosurgeons, and other paediatricians at the RCH, who are involved in the child's care.

    Who can be referred to this clinic?

    Any child or young person who has a physical-based condition such as cerebral palsy, and who has difficulties with motor skills

    When is the clinic held?

    The clinic is held one Thursday morning and two Tuesday mornings each 4 weeks.  Botulinum Toxin services are available one Thursday each 4 weeks

    How to refer?

    Please see the referral page for more information.

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    This is an evolving service provided by the Rehabilitation Service at RCH which aims

    • to assist therapists in regional areas to further develop expertise in treating children with ABIs
    • to assist in transition from hospital to community based rehabilitation
    • to provide an opportunity for children, families and service providers to access specialist assessment services in their own community
    • to provide education for children, families and service providers related to all areas of paediatric rehabilitation

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