The Neurobehavioral Continuum of Care provides treatment services for individuals with developmental disabilities and a variety of severe behavior disorders. These include destructive behaviors such as self-injurious behavior (SIB), aggression, property destruction, pica, and noncompliance.

Continuum of Care

The continuum of care consists of the Outpatient Neurobehavioral Clinics and the Inpatient Neurobehavioral Unit (NBU. There is close collaboration and overlap of professional staff across the different programs, and ongoing discussion and evaluation with regards to level of care needed by persons served.

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Who is treated in the Inpatient Neurobehavioral Unit at Kennedy Krieger?

During fiscal year 2019*, 34 patients with severe behavior disorders were treated by the Inpatient Neurobehavioral Unit at Kennedy Krieger.

Below is the age breakdown of those patients:

A pie chart depicting the age breakdown of patients treated by the Inpatient Neurobehavioral Unit at Kennedy Krieger during FY 2019

Diagnoses Treated

The Inpatient Neurobehavioral Unit treats children and adolescents who, collectively, have a variety of diagnoses.

Previous patient diagnoses include, but are not limited to:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Autism
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Cornelia de Lange Syndrome
  • DiGeorge Syndrome
  • Disruptive behavior disorder
  • Fragile X Syndrome
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome
  • Pervasive developmental disorder
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome
  • Rett Syndrome
  • Sanfilippo Syndrome
  • Stereotypic movement disorder

Treatment Approach

Assessments are preformed regarding of your child’s problem behaviors and a customized treatment plan is designed to meet their needs. Families are an integral part of each child’s treatment, and are encouraged to participate in their child’s treatment.

Interdisciplinary Treatment Team

Patients with severe behavior disorders may have complex needs. An experienced interdisciplinary treatment team works with every patient and his or her family.

Our treatment team may include:

  • Behavior data specialists
  • Certified nursing interns
  • Board-certified behavior analysts
  • Clinical specialists
  • Neurologists
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Pediatricians
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Registered nurses
  • Social workers
  • Special educators
  • Speech/language pathologists

Other disciplines are consulted on a case-by-case basis.

Where do patients live who are seen by the Inpatient Neurobehavioral Unit?

The Inpatient Neurobehavioral Unit treats patients from across the country.

In fiscal year 2019, patients came from the following states:

A pie chart depicting where patients who treated by the Inpatient Neurobehavioral Unit at Kennedy Krieger in FY 2019 live

How much therapy do patients receive while being treated in the Inpatient Neurobehavioral Unit?

Patients in the Inpatient Neurobehavioral Unit receive three to four hours of direct behavioral therapy daily. Academic and vocational (when applicable), and self-care training are provided throughout the day. Speech therapy is provided two to three times per week.

What happens if a patient gets sick or has a medical emergency while an inpatient at Kennedy Krieger?

Kennedy Krieger has Advanced Life Support-certified medical staff members on-site 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with the equipment and processes in place to respond to medical emergencies. Occasionally, more intensive medical needs require unplanned transfers to an acute care setting. Because of our proximity to, and affiliation with, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, we are able to admit patients with intensive medical needs.

Occasionally, these more intensive medical needs require unplanned transfers to acute care. In fiscal year 2019*, three patients with severe behavior disorders required an unplanned transfer to a higher level of care.

How are patients and their families involved in the care received from the Inpatient Neurobehavioral Unit?

No one knows a patient better than his or her family. Kennedy Krieger providers are committed to incorporating family-centered care. The best way to care for a patient is to include his or her family in the patient’s healthcare team. Family members are encouraged to participate in treatment planning, goal setting, family meetings, and education and training sessions.

How long do most patients receive treatment from the Inpatient Neurobehavioral Unit?

Treatment varies from one patient to another, based on their needs and goals. In fiscal year 2019*, the average length of treatment for individuals with severe behavior disorders was 149 days.

What kinds of improvements might patients be expected to make while receiving treatment from the Inpatient Neurobehavioral Unit?

Our outcome data support the effectiveness of our approach.

During fiscal year 2019*:

  • 88 percent of patients met their admission goals
  • 100 percent of patients were discharged with at least one caregiver prepared to follow and maintain their treatment plan

Inpatient outcomes over the last five years:

  • 87 percent of patients discharged had reduced problem behaviors by at least 80 percent.

What do patients and their families say about their experience with the Inpatient Neurobehavioral Unit?

95 percent of families reported overall satisfaction with their experience.

Does Kennedy Krieger have special accreditation?

Kennedy Krieger Institute is accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and The Joint Commission. Every three years, both organizations review the Institute to ensure all its programs meet or exceed the very high standards it sets for the care of its patients.


*Fiscal year 2019 is the time frame from July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019.