The Physical Therapy Department at Boston Children's Hospital provides direct outpatient care to patients ranging in age from newborns to adults.
Physical therapy is available on an outpatient basis:
- Monday through Friday, 8:30 am - 5 pm
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 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 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.
Physical therapy is initiated by a referral from the patient's primary care physician or specialist.
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 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.
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.
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.