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When someone is diagnosed with cancer, it is natural to focus on one thing: treating the disease as quickly and effectively as possible. But at Cincinnati Children’s, we focus on the big picture, too. This means paying close attention to how cancer and cancer therapy may affect a person’s ability to learn, play, walk, talk and enjoy life. When problems arise, outpatient rehabilitation therapy can make a big difference for most children and young adults. But some people need a more intensive approach. For these patients, we offer inpatient rehabilitation through our Pediatric Cancer Rehabilitation Specialty Program who also works collaboratively with the Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute. We are proud to have the distinction of being the first in the world to receive a CARF accreditation in pediatric cancer rehabilitation.
*Therapeutic intervention is defined as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, recreational therapy and psychology.
Cancer and cancer treatment can affect a person’s physical, cognitive and social development, causing problems in many areas of life. Sometimes, these problems are related to the specific type of cancer a person has. For instance, a brain tumor may press against the frontal lobe, affecting motor skills or learning skills. A tumor in the lung may affect breathing, and sarcoma located in the joints may affect a person’s ability to walk. Leukemia and lymphoma often cause long-term problems with fatigue.
Cancer therapy itself is often a factor. For example, chemotherapy with certain types of drugs can cause neuropathy, a condition that damages nerves and causes weakness, numbness and pain. A bone marrow transplant can lead to problems such a fatigue and organ damage.
Cancer specialists at Cincinnati Children’s have the training and expertise to recognize these problems. They work closely with their colleagues in the Pediatric Cancer Rehabilitation Specialty Program to identify patients who will benefit from inpatient cancer rehabilitation.
The inpatient cancer rehabilitation program is designed for children, adolescents and young adults who have been diagnosed with cancer, as well as for older adults who are experiencing late effects from a childhood cancer. Most of our patients have had:
At Cincinnati Children’s, there is no “stop sign” when it comes to helping people overcome the effects of cancer and cancer treatment. Inpatient rehabilitation can take place while a person is receiving cancer care. But it also can be helpful in the months and years after treatment, when “late effects” of cancer and cancer treatment may appear. These can include stroke, chronic fatigue, nerve damage and many other concerns.
The core care team will include:
These specialists take a team approach to rehabilitation therapy, with the goal of helping patients regain function, be safe and enjoy the best quality of life possible.
The rehabilitation medicine physician works with a team of other specialists to create a personalized care plan for each patient. This plan can include occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech language therapy, recreational therapy and behavioral medicine.
Depending on a person’s needs, the care plan also may include:
Parents play a very important role throughout their child’s inpatient stay. Every morning, we hold family-centered rounds and encourage parents to attend. This meeting is a good opportunity for the physician, rehab team, patient and family to talk about how therapy is going and if any changes to the treatment plan are needed. Parents can share their impressions, ideas and concerns at this meeting, which may take place in the patient’s room or in one of our gyms.
Throughout the inpatient stay, our team will work with parents to help them prepare for their child’s return home. This can involve teaching them new skills, such as safely transferring their child into a car. It can also involve finding ways to overcome potential problems in the home, such as steep stairs or narrow doorways. Our goal is to help you and your child return home with new skills and greater confidence about the future.
Cincinnati Children’s has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for our inpatient rehabilitation and pediatric specialty care programs since 1997, for our brain injury program since 2015, and for our cancer and pain programs since 2018. We are the first in the world to receive an accreditation in pediatric cancer rehabilitation and only the second to receive an accreditation in pediatric pain rehabilitation.
For more information about the Division of Rehabilitation Medicine, call 513-636-7480, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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