Physical Therapy Patient Resources

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Inpatient services

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

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Hours

Physical therapy is available to inpatients:

  • Monday through Friday, 7:30 am - 5 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday (including holidays), 8:30 am - 5 pm

Our Patients

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 Specialties at Boston Children's

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 staff also has extensive experience in baclofen pump trials. These trials determine if a patient will benefit from the use of baclofen, a muscle relaxant commonly used to decrease spasticity related to cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries or other neurological diseases.

Physical therapists also play an integral role in the management of patients in our intensive care units:

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.

The goal of 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.

Starting therapy

Physical therapy is initiated by a referral from the patient's physician.

Examination

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

Treatment

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.

Team approach

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.

Rounds

Inpatient physical therapists attend multidisciplinary rounds and team meetings, and give input to the team regarding a patient's progress.

Additionally, physical therapists often identify new patient's needs and assist the health care team determine when physical therapy is appropriate.

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 programs are provided, as well as education regarding physical therapy discharge plans and follow-up.

Discharge

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.

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Outpatient services

The Physical Therapy Department at Boston Children's Hospital provides direct outpatient care to patients ranging in age from newborns to adults.

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Hours

Physical therapy is available on an outpatient basis:

  • Monday through Friday, 8:30 am - 5 pm

Our Patients

Patients are referred to physical therapy by their pediatrician or a specialist. Reasons for physical therapy may include:

  • Pre-op (before surgery) management
  • Post-op (after surgery) management
  • Care for a traumatic injury or illness
  • Treatment related to an acute or chronic medical condition
  • School evaluation

Our Specialties

Our staff is specially trained to deal with a variety of pediatric and adolescent medical conditions. We treat patients with extensive and complex problems, including:

Our Services

Our therapists provide examination, evaluation and treatment to patients with impairments, functional limitations, disease and disability. We also provide consultation to the medical staff regarding physical therapy services.

The goal of therapy
Our 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.

Starting therapy
Physical therapy is initiated by a referral from the patient's primary care physician or specialist.

Examination
Physical therapists perform thorough initial examinations and use findings to develop comprehensive treatment programs and establish specific, objective, measurable and time-based goals. After the first appointment, the physical therapist will discuss how often a patient will need to come to physical therapy.

Treatment
Treatment programs are always individualized to meet the needs of each patient. Examples of treatment include:

  • Posture re-education
  • Exercises to increase range of motion and muscle flexibility
  • Exercises to increase muscle strength
  • Balance activities
  • Developmental stimulation
  • Endurance training
  • Gait training for patients with walking difficulties
  • Functional mobility training (e.g., standing up, sitting in a chair)
  • Soft tissue massage and joint mobilization
  • Sport-specific activities
  • Modalities, such as application of heat and cold, electrical stimulation and hydrotherapy (whirlpool)

When necessary, physical therapists make recommendations for orthotic devices and/or adaptive equipment.

Team approach
Our staff works together with physicians, nurses, patient care coordinators and others, to provide the best possible care to each patient. The therapist will consult with the referring physician regarding the progress of a patient's physical therapy program and alert them to any problems that may arise.

Educating patients and families
As part of the treatment program, families are shown how to assist their child with specific home exercise programs and are given specific written instructions. Our therapists are available if questions arise once the patient is home.

Discharge
Once the patient has met their goals they will be discharged from outpatient physical therapy. The therapist will discuss the importance of overall fitness and wellness and provide suggestions so that the patient can maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
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