At Kennedy Krieger, patients and families are primary members of the healthcare team, so you will be in contact with a number of healthcare professionals. Initially, all patients and families see a physician and a registered nurse. Depending on the patient’s needs, professionals from other disciplines will also be part of your family’s customized healthcare team. You will be given a schedule of appointments each morning. If you have any questions, you can call the nursing station at (443) 923-9433.
The Medical Team
The patient’s medical team will consist of an attending physician and a resident. The medical team will see the patient each day to address medical issues and to talk about medical treatment. The attending physician on the patient’s medical team will specialize in one of the following areas: pediatric medicine, neurology, rehabilitation medicine, psychiatry, or developmental pediatrics. All attending physicians hold faculty positions at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and are responsible for patients’ individualized programs and overall care.
Nurses play a crucial role in the patient’s recovery. Our nurses combine their broad knowledge of growth and development with clinical skills that are essential in a rehabilitation setting. They provide training and education to meet the individual needs of each patient and family, and support success in learning functional skills. Along with maintaining a safe, supportive environment, nurses also promote physical, emotional, and spiritual health. As members of the interdisciplinary team, their roles include 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.
Other Services Patients May Receive During Their Inpatient Stay:
Animal Assisted Therapy:
In animal assisted therapy, trained therapy dogs interact with patients during traditional therapy—behavioral, occupational, recreational, speech, and physical—to help them achieve their therapy goals. Before beginning animal assisted therapy, therapists obtain parental permission and make sure the patient has no allergies or fears.
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.
This interdisciplinary team of professionals from speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, and physical therapy provides evaluation, treatment, and equipment modification services to help patients achieve their goals. These services include communication and speaking devices, specialized computer access, seating and positioning modifications, and power wheelchair assessment and modification.
Audiologists assess hearing ability in patients using a variety of behavioral assessment techniques. Objective techniques that require no response from the patient are also utilized. Our audiologists also offer tests to measure function in the patient’s middle ear, inner ear, auditory nerve, and brainstem auditory pathways. Audiology offers patients hearing aids and other assistive listening devices, along with rehabilitative services.
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 patients self-care skills, promote their adherence to medical regimens, and help them cope with anxiety, pain, or emotional distress.
Child life specialists recognize that being in the hospital can be a stressful experience for children. To support our patients’ emotional well-being, specialists offer age-appropriate diagnosis education, as well as preparation for, and support during, procedures. Child life specialists can also provide educational and coping resources to siblings. Specialists facilitate these interventions in childfriendly ways, incorporating therapeutic and medical play into everyday interventions.
If medically appropriate, inpatients may receive complementary therapies, including acupuncture and massage. These therapies may help patients with overall healing and well-being, relaxation, and pain management.
Children who remain hospitalized for lengthy admissions may receive educational services if they are medically cleared to participate and have time in their daily schedule. Lessons are taught daily by Baltimore City teachers, following the Baltimore City school year calendar. Bringing your child’s IEP (if applicable) and any school textbooks and assignments may be helpful.
Music therapists use singing, songwriting, instruments, and other musical experiences to help patients with treatment goals during individual and group therapy sessions.
Neuropsychologists assess patients’ thinking, behavior, and emotional functioning related to brain injury or dysfunction, and make specific recommendations for their treatment, rehabilitation, and education.
Nurse Care Management:
Nurse clinical care managers work as part of the interdisciplinary team to facilitate communication with your funding source and to help coordinate a safe discharge plan.
All patients are screened for nutrition-related concerns to identify whether they need the services of a nutritionist. If required or requested, patients will receive a nutrition evaluation, and a care plan will be developed with the family and interdisciplinary team. Nutritionists help patients to safely and effectively meet caloric, nutrient, and fluid requirements.
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 patients’ development and independence.
Physical therapists facilitate activities designed to increase independence and develop and enhance gross motor functional skills, such as sitting, transferring in and out of positions, walking, and engaging in leisure and sport activities. An individualized treatment plan will be developed for each patient to promote improved gross motor function and greater involvement at home, at school, and in the community. Special equipment—such as walkers, orthotics, or wheelchairs—may be recommended to improve patients’ independence and mobility.
Return to School Support:
Our educational specialists can provide comprehensive educational evaluations for patients who need assistance with their return to school. 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 to meet the child’s needs.
Clinical social workers help support families as they adapt to the challenges of meeting the special needs of their family member. Social workers provide individual and family counseling, locate necessary resources, and provide care coordination for families.
Speech-language pathologists evaluate patients’ communication, literacy, oral motor, feeding, and swallowing skills. They collaborate with other disciplines, as well as the patient’s family, to consider the “whole” patient as they develop and implement treatment goals and strategies to improve function.
Therapeutic recreation specialists engage patients in individual or group activities that facilitate treatment, adjustment, and socialization. Recreational therapists encourage patient participation in crafts, games, or sports, and also help patients to 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.
Recreation and Special Event Programming:
- Playroom and Teen Room: Supervised recreational activities are provided for patients daily, including evenings and weekends.
- Special Events: Guest performers and community groups frequently visit to provide entertainment for patients. Holidays, birthdays, and seasonal events are also celebrated.
- Pet Therapy: Visits are arranged through accredited pet therapy organizations.
- Community Outings: Weekly outings are provided for patients, as appropriate. Various locations include bowling, movies, playgrounds/parks, museums, malls, and other area attractions.