What We Treat

Our staff treats children and teens who are recovering from conditions and disorders that impair physical, mental or cognitive functions, such as brain dysfunctions and injuries, spinal cord injuries, stroke, cardiac complications and burns. We also treat patients whose illness or injury has affected their normal breathing patterns.

Services We Offer

We offer comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation through a variety of specialized programs and therapies. Physicians, nurses, therapists and other staff provide rehabilitation seven days a week.

Brain injuries

Our Brain Injury Program helps children with brain injuries or other neurological conditions develop the functional skills they need to return home and to the community as quickly as possible. We provide an individualized, progressive treatment plan to help them succeed and reach their full potential.

Learn more about our Brain Injury Program

Burns

Our burn rehabilitation services address everything from partial surface burns to full and deep injuries. We provide individualized burn rehab—such as self-care, dressing and wound care—to help children gain the confidence and skills to regain function and independence. Therapy is a vital part of the physical, emotional, social and functional rehabilitation of our patients.

Our burn rehab specialists help children regain the ability to perform everyday activities, such as going to school. Our comprehensive care includes:

  • Behavioral management
  • Compression garments for scar management
  • Occupational therapy
  • Pain management
  • Physiatry
  • Physical therapy
  • Pulmonology therapy, including respiratory therapy
  • Rehabilitation nursing
  • Speech-language pathology for oral burns
  • Therapeutic recreation

Cardiac rehabilitation

Our Cardiac Rehabilitation Program helps those with congenital (present at birth) heart defects and acquired heart disease increase endurance, regain strength, and reduce future health risks. One of only a few of its kind in the country, the pediatric program centers on exercise, education and functional skills. It’s suitable for children and teens with a history of cardiac disorders, such as heart transplant complications, cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias and cardiac arrest.

We provide care for patients from birth to age 21 in all rehabilitation phases—acute, inpatient, day rehab and outpatient—and from early intervention therapy to at-home maintenance. We use age-appropriate methods to help patients achieve developmental milestones and return to active lives.

Our cardiac care team is led by board-certified physiatrists and pediatric cardiologists and may include staff and specialists such as:

  • Physical and occupational therapists
  • Speech-language pathologists
  • Neuropsychologists
  • Psychologists
  • Child life specialists
  • Social workers
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Physician assistants
  • Dietitians
  • Rehabilitation nurses
  • Case managers
  • Hospital teachers

Dual diagnosis

We provide specialized care for children and young adults who have a spinal cord injury and a corresponding brain injury, known as dual diagnosis. Patients with a dual diagnosis may experience physical and mental complications. They often need therapy to regain strength and mobility while working on possible learning and memory impairments.

Treatment for pediatric dual diagnosis can be extremely challenging because a child’s growth and development has to be factored into his healthcare. To help patients return home with the highest possible level of function, our multidisciplinary team takes a comprehensive, aggressive and individualized approach that applies age-appropriate treatments.

Team members may include:

  • Board-certified pediatric and subspecialty doctors, including pediatric physiatrists
  • Registered rehabilitation nursing staff
  • Physical, occupational, speech, recreation and music therapists
  • Neuropsychologists
  • Rehabilitation case managers
  • Social workers
  • Child life specialists
  • Certified teachers
  • Chaplains
  • Vocational rehabilitation counselors
  • Volunteers

Minimally conscious states

Our specialized, intensive rehabilitation therapy can benefit children who are medically stable but in a minimally conscious state after a brain injury. Children receive medical care and therapy to increase function and return home.

Board-certified physiatrists lead a multidisciplinary treatment team that may include gastroenterologists, pulmonologists, neurologists, neuropsychologists, pediatric psychologists and neurosurgeons. We provide three hours of therapy to patients each day, allowing time for rest and structured activity. This allows for ample interaction and supervision with their doctors and therapists.

It’s important for parents to be involved with their child’s care once he leaves the hospital, so our specialists teach you what you need to know and do for at-home care, including:

  • Medicine administration: Why a medicine is prescribed and how to obtain, store, measure and dispense it
  • Nutritional management: Why certain foods are recommended and how to feed your child in the healthiest way possible
  • Bowel and bladder care: How to keep your child dry, including how to change diapers and provide toilet retraining
  • Respiratory care: How to manage the devices that keep your child breathing, such as ventilators and tracheotomies
  • Safety management and care: How to keep your child healthy, infection-free and safe at home
  • Community education and reintegration: How to include your child in family life, such as taking trips, going to appointments and attending community events
  • Transfer and mobility: How to move, position and travel with your child, as well as how to operate and manage a wheelchair
  • Skin care: How to care for your child’s skin and prevent problems such as bedsores
  • School re-entry and advocacy: How to help your child adjust and function at school, and what you should know about government requirements for educational support
  • Diagnosis and recovery: What you need to know about your child’s diagnosis and what you can expect during recovery

Music therapy

Music therapy uses musical activity—such as creating, singing, playing or listening to music—to strengthen the physical, emotional, cognitive and social abilities of patients as part of the healing process.

Music therapy at Children’s helps patients:

  • Manage pain
  • Express emotions
  • Improve thinking, attention, alertness, memory, and vocal and verbal expression
  • Develop social skills and relate to others
  • Improve movement and physical strength
  • Develop the ability to speak and communicate
  • Relieve stress through relaxation
  • Decrease pain or anxiety during medical procedures

Our music therapists observe the way your child participates in activities to learn about his musical preferences, interest level and history. Your child’s therapist will use this information to develop a customized music therapy plan, which may involve treatment individually, in peer groups, with the family, or in other therapy sessions. During therapy, your child might play musical instruments, sing or hum, or listen, move or exercise to music. He may also write or compose music or work with multimedia music resources.

The conditions we treat with music therapy are:

  • Burns
  • Cognition and memory impairment
  • Decreased mobility
  • Developmental delays
  • Learning disabilities
  • High-risk neonatal circumstances
  • Long-term medical illness
  • Physical injuries and disabilities
  • Speech-language problems

Spinal cord injuries

We provide specialized rehabilitation for children and teens with spinal cord conditions to help them regain independence and cope with future challenges.

Learn more about our Spinal Cord Injury Program

Teen rehabilitation

We provide services for teens who require care due to accidents, illnesses or congenital (present at birth) defects. Our therapists help teens develop the skills they need to become independent adults.

Learn more about our teen rehabilitation services

Therapeutic recreation

Children’s therapeutic recreation not only helps patients resume the activities they enjoyed before their hospitalization, it also introduces them to new activities. Playing in this way can be a profoundly healing experience.

Our therapists use a variety of methods and activities to keep children and teens involved and engaged in their recovery:

  • Individual treatment sessions give patients one-on-one interactions that improve their strength and endurance through active, healthy leisure choices.
  • Group treatment sessions encourage social interaction among peers.
  • Therapists coordinate community outings, which involve parents and caregivers, to match the specific needs of each patient. These events help patients discover their abilities, improve their functional independence, and learn new skills that will prepare them to return to school and other activities.
  • Therapeutic play allows patients to adjust to their surroundings and have fun as they participate in inpatient rehabilitation.
  • Our Adaptive Sports Program helps those with disabilities find sports activities they enjoy and can play safely, such as wheelchair basketball, quad rugby or power soccer.
  • Assistive technology can allow children and teens to enjoy a variety of activities and gain independence using devices such as adaptive video game controllers, sports equipment, fishing poles, toys, switch-operated digital cameras, bowling ramps and others.

Our Unique Approach

Children’s has one of the nation’s largest pediatric inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and in 2015 we treated 369 patients. Our Inpatient Rehabilitation Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), which has given us specialty recognition for our spinal cord system of care and our brain injury and pediatric specialty programs.

Patient outcomes

Our outcomes in important areas exceed those of other pediatric programs in the U.S.:

  • Overall, Children’s discharged 97 percent of its Inpatient Rehabilitation Program patients in 2015, compared with 91 percent of patients at similar facilities in the U.S. The average length of stay for our patients was slightly shorter, too. In other words, more of our patients could come home sooner. 
  • In 2014 and 2015, Children’s patients with traumatic brain injuries made more gains than patients at similar pediatric facilities.
  • In 2015, Children’s discharged 93 percent of its patients with brain injuries to their homes, compared with similar pediatric facilities average of 90 percent. So, more of our patients had regained enough independence to function in their communities.
  • In 2015, we discharged 100 percent of our patients with traumatic spinal cord injuries to their homes, compared with the similar pediatric facilities average of 82 percent. 
  • On average, our patients who suffered a stroke completed rehab and returned home four days sooner than the national average for similar pediatric facilities. And, more of these patients (100 percent) returned home than the national average (94 percent) for similar facilities.

Locations

Scottish Rite hospital

1001 Johnson Ferry Road NE

Atlanta, GA 30342-1605