Physical Therapy - Inpatient

The Physical Therapy Department at Boston Children's Hospital provides services to patients in all inpatient care units, including the intensive care units, and provides treatment to a broad spectrum of individuals ranging from newborns to adults.

Inpatient Services

Patients referred for physical therapy while in the hospital may be:
  • Recovering from surgery
  • Receiving care for a traumatic injury or illness
  • Undergoing treatment related to an acute, chronic or complex medical conditions
Our physical therapists specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of a variety of medical conditions and diagnoses that may require improvement in the following areas:
  • Gross motor coordination
  • Balance
  • Strength
  • Endurance
  • Functional mobility
  • Gait
  • Airway clearance
  • Developmental stimulation

Our Specialties 

Our staff is specially trained to deal with a variety of pediatric medical problems and frequently encounter patients with extensive and complex problems, such as:
  • Orthopedic
  • Neurologic
  • Chronic and acute pulmonary
  • Oncologic
  • Cardiac
  • Needs related to solid organ, cardiac and bone marrow transplant

Our Services

Physical therapists provide examination, evaluation and treatment to patients with impairments, functional limitations, disease, and disability. We also provide consultation to the medical and surgical staff regarding physical therapy services. Our staff works together with other members of the health care team, including physicians, nurses, and patient care coordinators to provide the best possible care to each patient.

The goal of inpatient physical therapy

Physical therapists work to improve each patient's underlying impairments and try to help them make a full recovery, return to their previous level of function, or to learn to work within their functional limitations. The goal of inpatient physical therapy is to ensure that patients can return home safely following injury or illness, determine appropriate discharge planning, and to maintain strength and endurance with prolonged hospitalizations.


Our physical therapists perform thorough initial evaluations and use the findings to develop comprehensive individualized treatment programs and establish specific, objective, measurable and time-based goals.


Treatment programs are always individualized to meet each patient's needs. Examples of treatment include:
  • Positioning and posture alignment
  • Range of motion and strengthening exercises
  • Chest physical therapy and other airway clearance techniques
  • Balance activities
  • Developmental activities
  • Endurance training
  • Gait training
  • Functional mobility training
Our physical therapists also make recommendations regarding orthotics and adaptive equipment when necessary.

Educating patients and families

We emphasize participation of the family or other caregivers in each patient's treatment program. Patients and caregivers are educated about the role of physical therapy and are encouraged to be involved in treatment sessions whenever possible. Home exercise programs are provided, as well as education regarding physical therapy discharge plans and follow-up.


In many instances, physical therapists assist in deciding when a patient is ready to leave the hospital. We communicate whether or not a patient is safe to be discharged to home or may benefit from a transition to an inpatient rehabilitation hospital.

Along with the patient's physician, we may recommend that a patient receive physical therapy services in his/her home or on an outpatient basis after leaving the hospital.

Additionally, we decide if they will need equipment such as crutches, walkers or wheelchairs.

Outpatient Referrals

If a patient needs to return for outpatient physical therapy appointments, we often refer patients to Children's Outpatient physical therapists. We can also help coordinate outpatient services within the community.

Contact Us

For more information about our Inpatient Physical Therapy services, call 617-355-7212.