Who Takes Care of Your Child

At Kennedy Krieger, you and your child are primary members of the health care team, so you will be in contact with a number of health care professionals. Initially, all patients and families see a physician or nurse practitioner, a registered nurse, and a social worker. Depending on your child's needs, professionals from other disciplines will also be part of your child's customized health care team. You can pick up a schedule of your child's appointments at the nursing station each morning. The phone number to the nursing station is (443) 923-9433.

The Medical Team:

Your child's medial team will consist of an attending physician and a resident or pediatric nurse practitioner. The medical team will see your child each day to address medical issues and to talk about your child's medical treatment. The attending physician on your child's medical team will specialize in one of the following areas: pediatric medicine, pediatric neurology, rehabilitation, medicine, child psychiatry, developmental pediatrics, or pediatric gastroenterology. All attending physicians hold faculty positions at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and are responsible for your child's individualized program and overall care.

Nursing:

Pediatric nurses also play a crucial role in your child's recovery. Our nurses couple their broad knowledge of growth and development with clinical skills that are essential in a pediatric rehabilitation setting. They provide training and education that meet the individual needs of each patient and family and that supports success in learning functional skills. Along with maintaining a safe, supportive environment, nurses also promote physical, psychosocial, and spiritual health. As members of the interdisciplinary team, their role includes developing an individualized patient care plan along with ongoing daily communication with the patient, family, physicians, and the rest of the care team. Clinical assessments and nursing care are critical to ensuring our patients' good health.

Additional Specialists and Services:

Here are some brief descriptions of other specialists and services your child may need during your time with us:

Aquatic Therapy: Offered at the recommendation of a patient's physician, aquatic therapy helps patients to achieve better balance, strength, endurance, range of motion, circulation, self-esteem, and quality of life. Our interdisciplinary aquatherapy team includes an aquatic medical director, an aquatic manager, occupational therapists, physical therapists, recreational therapists, and adapted aquatic specialists with certification in lifeguarding, CPR, pool operations, and water safety.

Assistive Technology: This interdisciplinary team includes professionals from speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. They provide evaluation, treatment, and equipment modification services. These services include communication and speaking devices, specialized computer access, seating and positioning modifications, and power wheelchair assessment and modification.

Audiology: Audiologists assess hearing ability in children using a variety of behavioral assessment techniques. Our audiologists also offer tests to measure function in the middle ear, inner ear, and auditory system. Audiology also offers hearing aids and other assistive listening devices along with rehabilitative services.

Behavioral Psychology: Behavioral psychologists provide consultation, assessment, and treatment for patients with behavioral, coping, and adjustment difficulties associated with development, learning, and medical problems. Principles of behavior, conditioning, and learning are used to teach self-care skills, promote adherence to medical regiments, and help patients cop with anxiety, pain, or emotional distress.

Child Life: Child Life specialists provide patients with age-appropriate education about medical procedures and conditions and also offer emotional support. Therapeutic and developmental play opportunities enhance the patient's ability to cope in the hospital setting.

Complementary Therapies: Rehabilitation inpatients may receive recommendations for complementary therapies including acupuncture, energy therapy, and massage to assist with overall healing and well-being, relaxation, and pain management.

Educational Services: Children who remain hospitalized for three weeks or longer, and who are able to participate in instruction, will be provided with small group or individualized education services. This service is provided on a regular school year schedule for approximately six hours per week by Baltimore City school teachers.

Music Therapy: Music therapists use singing, songwriting, playing instruments, and other musical experiences to address treatment goals for patients during individual and group therapy sessions.

Neuropsychology: Neuropsychologists assess children's thinking, behavior, and socioemotional functioning related to brain injury or dysfunction, in order to make specific recommendations for treatment, rehabilitation, and education.

Nutrition: All children are screened for nutrition-related concerns to identify whether they need the services of a pediatric nutritionist. If required or requested, a nutrition evaluation is completed and a care plan is developed with the family and interdisciplinary team. Nutritionists help patients to safely and effectively meet calorie, nutrient, and fluid requirements. Nutritional plans respect each child's cultural practices and oral-motor skill level.

Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapists work with patients and their families to promote participation in meaningful activities. Evaluations and treatments focus on improving fine motor skills, daily living activities (including eating, dressing, hygiene, and toileting), oral motor skills, positioning, school-related skills -- such as handwriting, attention, and visual skills -- and play skills that are vital to child development and independence. Interventions are recommended based on a thorough understanding of typical development and the impact of disability, illness, and impairment on individual development, play, learning, and overall performance.

Physical Therapy: Physical therapists address posture and movement, including sitting and walking. An individualized treatment plan is developed for each child to promote improved function in these areas, as well as greater involvement at home, at school, and in the community. Special equipment -- such as walkers or wheelchairs -- may be recommended to improve your child's independence and mobility.

School Placement Services: When appropriate, our education specialists provide comprehensive educational evaluations. This diagnostic information is shared with hospital teachers and other team members and is also provided to families and schools to help plan appropriate educational placement and services at discharge. When planning a patient's discharge, the educational specialist communicates directly with the child's school regarding all assessments completed by the hospital treatment team and assists the family and school in designing appropriate school services.

Social Work: Clinical social workers help patients and families adjust to diagnoses of developmental disabilities and related medical conditions. Supporting families as they adapt to the challenges of meeting the special needs of their children, social workers provide individual and family counseling, locate necessary resources, and provide care coordination.

Speech and Language Therapy: Speech-language pathologists address communication and feeding and swallowing concerns. Children are evaluated for language understanding, language expression, social language, speech production and articulation, voice, fluency, and oral motor, feeding, and swallowing skills. The results are carefully analyzed, and speech-language pathologists consider all issues related to their injuries and diagnoses before determining how to proceed. Therapy focuses on areas of weakness while trying to maximize each child's functional communication.

Therapeutic Recreation: Therapeutic recreation specialists engage patients in individual or group activities that facilitate treatment, adjustment, and socialization. Recreational specialists encourage patient participation in crafts, games, or sports and also help patients try new or adapted leisure activities. Community reintegration outings give patients an opportunity to practice their skills in a natural setting outside of the hospital environment.