Spinal Cord Injuries & Neurological Conditions
Our rehabilitation team understands there are many challenges for patients recovering from spinal cord injuries and other neurological conditions. We work with patients and their families to increase abilities and improve quality of life. Our team of specialists meets the needs of every individual through a customized rehabilitation plan.
Patients admitted to the pediatric rehabilitation program are scheduled for up to three hours of therapy, Monday through Friday. On weekends, patients are seen both Saturday and Sunday for a half-day of therapies between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and noon.
- Our medical director, Dr. Kate Sigford, is South Dakota’s only physician to be board-certified in both physical medicine and rehabilitation and pediatric rehabilitation.
- Our high-tech assistive technology solutions aid in communication, feeding & swallowing, and upper & lower extremity movement and mobility, as well as ways to engage in other daily tasks through advanced technology.
- We have South Dakota’s first and only certified clinician in swallowing and feeding disorders.
- Close-to Home-Care: Staying close to home during the healing process can provide real comfort and convenience. Children’s Specialty Hospital is the only pediatric rehabilitation hospital in South Dakota or the surrounding area.
- Seating and Mobility Specialists: Our staff includes certified seating specialists, as well as therapists and technicians who are specially trained to offer the most advanced seating and mobility options.
- The Specialty Hospital works collaboratively with several other medical institutions and specialty practices throughout the midwest to meet your child’s needs. Some examples are: gastroenterology, neurology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, orthopedics, psychiatry, pulmonary, and ear, nose, and throat (ENT).
- Outpatient clinic locations in Sioux Falls, Sioux City, IA, and Rapid City, SD ensure continued quality care when services transition from inpatient to outpatient care.
- Trauma to the spine, Complete/Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries
- Spina Bifida
- Guillain-Barre Syndrome
- Spinal Cord Strokes or Aortic Aneurysm
- Complications of Spinal Surgery
- Pediatric rehabilitation medicine physician
- Pediatric nurses and certified nursing assistants
- Nurse care coordinator
- Occupational therapist
- Physical therapist
- Speech-language pathologist
- Respiratory therapist
- Clinical psychologist
- Medical social worker
- School educator (when applicable)
- Music therapist
- Assistive technology specialists
Q: Can I stay with my child during their rehabilitation stay?
A: One parent/caregiver is able to room in with your child while in the hospital. We encourage parent and family involvement during the rehabilitation stay. Our team will help train family on things that will be helpful to practice with your child in the evenings, weekends, and in preparation for leaving the hospital.
Q: How long will my child be in the hospital?
A: Each child’s length of stay in the hospital is different. An estimated length of stay (ELOS) is set at admission by your rehab physician and team based on health, severity of injury, and complexity of needs. Patient and family goals are of most importance and the team will work hard to help your child achieve those goals prior to discharge. Likewise, we are dedicated to supporting the child and family in returning to home when able and appropriate. Our team excels at preparing patients and families in transitioning back home and returning to school.
Assistive Technology/ Specialized Equipment
Our team is highly trained in assistive technology and the use of specialized equipment. They will assess for assistive technology needs utilizing a large selection of up to date technology and equipment that we have on hand to trial and use. Technology and equipment may be used to assist your child in achieving the best possible outcomes during their rehabilitation stay and beyond.
Some examples of assistive technology and specialized equipment:
- Alternative communication devices: High-tech eye-gaze devices to lower-tech picture communication boards are available to promote independence with communication. Our highly trained speech-language pathologists will focus on communication and trial and will recommend alternative communication devices if needed.
- Specialty switches: These allow for any type of movement to be used to control things such as a computer, power wheelchair, communication device, or phone.
- Electrical stimulation (commonly referred to as “e-stim” and also known as neuromuscular electrical stimulation [NMES]): This involves the use of electrical current to stimulate the nerves or nerve endings. It innervates the muscle beneath the skin and helps to produce a muscle contraction.
- Lite gait: A bodyweight supported device used for mobility training. Therapeutic intervention makes use of anti-gravity support and weight-bearing assistive devices, which are used to support patients as they work.
- Environmental controls: We have the technology to help patients who may need to find new ways to access their environment. Through the use of Bluetooth technology, adapted switches and/or infrared controls, we can teach patients to be independent with things like turning on lights or tv, accessing the internet, playing video games, or using a smartphone.
- Splinting and orthotics: We have professionals that are trained to make custom splints and orthotics for upper or lower extremities, as well as for spinal or cranial issues. The use of orthotics in rehabilitation can greatly impact function and independence.
- Adaptive Equipment for Activities of Daily Living: Large selection pediatric adaptive equipment to support daily routines such as bathing and toileting. Proper equipment will help promote independence throughout the rehabilitation process as well help to identify the appropriate equipment needs for home.
Seating and Mobility
A wide variety of manual and power wheelchairs, pediatric strollers, and scooters are available and can be customized to meet your child’s needs. Proper seating and positioning is vital to progress in rehab, as it promotes good posture, enhances breathing and digestion, prevents complications such as pressure sores and skin irritation, slows further loss of mobility, minimizes pain, and maximizes function.
Next Steps: Experts in Transitioning to Home
- Coordination of care: Our care coordinator and the team will assist in finding medical providers in your area and setting up any medical appointments your child may have during hospitalization and after discharge.
- Community transition experiences are encouraged so families can practice therapy activities in real-life settings before going home. The rehab team will help coordinate community outings with specific goals for your child to help build his/her confidence and independence in getting back to community interests and routines.
- Family conferences: The rehab team meets regularity with the patient and family throughout their rehabilitation journey to discuss progress and goals. We work with your child’s school to inform them of any special needs and to help with the transition back to school.
- Therapists will assess, identify and recommend appropriate assistive devices and/or adaptive equipment for your child in preparation for discharge to home. The team will seek funding and ensure proper training prior to discharge.
- The rehabilitation team will educate and train families, caregivers, and school personnel on specific needs, goals, or exercises your child may need in order to be discharged to home.