The Functional Independence Restoration Program's (FIRST) interdisciplinary team includes physicians who are board certified in pediatrics, anesthesiology, pain management, and rehabilitation medicine; nurses and nurse practitioners; pediatric pain psychologists; occupational, physical and recreational therapists; music therapy; massage; yoga; guided imagery; child-life specialists; and hospital-based schoolteachers.

FIRST Program features include:

  • A highly structured day with defined times for exercise, meals, therapies, school work, family time and sleep
  • Individual therapy sessions
  • Two hours of school work a day to help patients keep up with their assigned work and regain control over this area of their lives
  • Education and support for patients and family members to help them better understand what the patients are learning and how to apply those lessons in the “real world”

Prior to admission, patients undergo an evaluation in our Pain Management Clinic. If any diagnostic tests are needed, we conduct them before the patient’s hospital stay. During their inpatient stay, we want patients to focus their energies on regaining function, rather than on searching for the cause of their painful symptoms.

After successful completion and discharge from the inpatient program, most patients require ongoing care and support to consolidate and further the functional gains observed during their inpatient stay. Dramatic improvement in the level of pain typically occurs after program discharge and after the patient is fully functional. Patients who live locally are encouraged to receive this ongoing care from the Cincinnati Children’s Pain Management Clinic. For patients and families who live a greater distance from Cincinnati Children’s, our team is available to serve as a resource for referring physicians, regarding them as critically important partners in taking care of children with chronic pain.

Sample Daily Schedule

7:00 am: Wake up, breakfast, get ready

8:00 am: Rehab medicine & nursing rounds

8:15 am: Physical therapy

9:00 am: Occupational therapy

9:45 am: Morning break

10:00 am: Behavioral Medicine

11:00 am: School Instruction

12:00 pm: Lunch

1:00 pm: Physical therapy

1:45 pm: Occupational therapy

2:30 pm: Afternoon break

3:00 pm: Recreational Therapy or Child Life

4:00 pm: Home Exercises

4:45 pm: Music Therapy or Massage Therapy

5:30 pm: Parents return / Relaxation Time

6:00 pm: Dinner

7:00 pm: Independent Cardio Time

7:30 pm: Evening family activity

9:00 pm: Get ready for bed

9:30 pm: Relaxation

10:00 pm: Lights out!