Pediatric Rehabilitation


The Northern California Shriners Hospital staff is uniquely qualified to care for the needs of growing children. Our hospital is nationally ranked and the staff offers specialized, advanced inpatient care tailored to each child’s unique physical, developmental, emotional and social needs.

Whether your child has experienced an acute injury or has a chronic condition, we understand that every patient is a unique individual who will benefit most from a customized approach to adjustment, healing and recovery. Rehabilitation is a critically important component of the care and services we provide to our patients. Our goal is to improve the function and enjoyment of life for children with various diagnoses and abilities. From comprehensive inpatient care to intensive outpatient treatment, we embrace a multidisciplinary approach in a compassionate, family-centered setting. At Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California, we think holistically, looking beyond the diagnosis in order to treat the whole child. Our services are designed to meet the physical, emotional, social, developmental and educational needs of our patients.

The pediatric rehabilitation team at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California is a recognized leader in pediatric specialty care. Our multidisciplinary team is devoted to giving children compassionate care that will restore their ability, confidence and independence. Our commitment extends to advancing care through scientific and clinical research.

We serve patients from birth until transition to adulthood with various medical conditions including:

  • Spinal cord injury
  • Brain injury
  • Multiple trauma
  • Deconditioning
  • Acquired amputations and limb deficiencies
  • Peripheral nerve disorders (e.g. Guillian Barre)
  • Other musculoskeletal and neurological disorders

Care environments

Ambulatory clinic: Many patients begin their Shriners Hospital journey here with an evaluation by a Shriners Hospital doctor. During the clinic appointment, surgeons and specialists discuss the course of care with patients and parents. The clinic also is the place where patients return for follow-up appointments and post-surgical evaluations after hospital discharge. Patients with certain conditions may be evaluated for possible admission to inpatient rehabilitation. More than 22,000 children visit the ambulatory clinic each year.

Designated Inpatient Rehabilitation Center: Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California is designated by the State of California as a Rehabilitation Facility that meets all standards required by the Systems of Care Division of the California Children’s Services (CCS). The Rehabilitation Facility designation is granted to those organizations that demonstrate excellent multidisciplinary care, including ongoing assessments, plans and documented follow-up for patients and families. Our facility has 20 designated beds for the inpatient rehabilitation unit. The unit is staffed with a 24-hour pharmacist; pediatric radiologist; neuropsychologist; respiratory therapist; physical, occupational and speech therapists; and a physician intensivist.

Admission criteria to the Inpatient Rehabilitation Center

Physicians who specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation will admit children to the inpatient rehabilitation program after evaluation.

The minimum patient criteria for admission are:

  • Medically stable for transfer/admission to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California.
  • Demonstrate potential for improvement in quality of life and benefit from intensive medical, physical, and/or cognitive rehabilitation.
  • Able to participate in three hours of rehabilitative therapy, five to seven days a week.
  • Have a caregiver present to participate in rehabilitative program.
  • Have an appropriate discharge plan including destination and support after inpatient stay.

What to expect:

Children admitted to the inpatient pediatric rehabilitation center will receive three hours of therapy five to six days a week, including physical, occupational and speech therapy. Our inpatient rehabilitation team will continuously evaluate your child’s progress and modify your child’s individualized rehabilitation plan. These individuals work collaboratively, using an interdisciplinary approach, so that the goals that are most important to you and your child are the basis for a personalized plan of care. The rehabilitation team meets weekly to discuss progress, goal achievements and updates to treatment plans.

Our multidisciplinary team will continuously evaluate your child’s progress and modify your child’s individualized rehabilitation plan. Your child will receive physical, occupational and speech/language therapy, and your child’s specific combination of services will be determined by their individual progress. Your child will be followed by a multi-disciplinary care team that includes the following specialists:

  • Rehabilitation nurses
  • Nurse care managers
  • Child life specialists
  • Registered dietitians
  • Hand surgeons
  • Neuropsychologists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Orthotists
  • Pediatric orthopaedic surgeons
  • Pediatric physiatrists
  • Pharmacist
  • Physical therapists
  • Prosthetists
  • Psychologists
  • Recreational therapists
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Social workers
  • Speech therapists
  • Teachers
  • Urologists

In addition, we provide family meetings and ongoing training for family members to understand care at home. Patients attend our on-site public school that provides bilingual instruction for preschool through 12th grade. Special programs include vocational education and school re-entry programs. Therapeutic outings are integrated into your child’s schedule as an important experience to prepare you and your child for going home.

Intensive outpatient therapy program (IOTP)

Patients who no longer require inpatient services may benefit from working with our multidisciplinary team of physicians, specialists and therapists on an outpatient basis. Children are accepted into IOTP upon recommendation of a Shriners Hospital physician following an inpatient stay or ambulatory clinic visit. IOTP program length varies, with a typical course of care lasting three to five days. Children may attend two to four one-on-one therapy sessions each day with rest breaks between sessions. Care managers can assist families to find local lodging during the length of the program.


Shriners Inspires WCMX Wheelchair Skating Champion

Alyssa on skating ramp

In Sacramento, 16-year old Alyssa was tearing up the skate park. She launched herself into a 12-foot vertical drop, shot straight down the concrete bowl lined with chipped pool tiles and raced full speed to the other side where she spun back around with a look of fierce determination.

“I’ve seen her do a lot of tricks, and I have to admit, that was the first time I’ve been a little nervous for her,” said Alyssa’s mother Anna.