About inpatient rehab for children

Inpatient Pediatric Rehabilitation is a service for children who are ready to be discharged from a regular hospital bed but still need 24/7 medical support and intensive therapies that cannot be provided at home. This is especially true for children who are recovering from traumatic injuries or illness.

There are only three inpatient pediatric rehabilitation programs in Wisconsin, and UW Health Kids is proud to have the longest continuously operating service in the state. We have both the experts and facilities your child needs to bridge the gap from their hospital stay to home. Best of all, our program is located at American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, Wis. — complete with all the amenities that make life in the hospital a little less daunting for kids.

The Inpatient Pediatric Rehab Program cares for children who are recovering from a wide variety of conditions, including:

  • Brain injury

  • Complex medical conditions

  • Functional Neurological Disorder (FND)

  • Neurologic disorders

  • Orthopedic conditions (trauma, amputation, post surgery)

  • Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy

  • Spinal cord injury

  • Transplants

Our goals for your child:

  • Achieve their personal goals for recovery and independence

  • Reach the greatest possible functional lifestyle for home, school and leisure activities

  • Be properly supported through education of parents and other caregivers

Scope of services (pdf)

A highly skilled team approach

Experts in all facets of rehabilitation for kids

Children recovering from a severe injury or illness have many needs, both physical and emotional. We admit children between ages 1 and 18 who can tolerate and benefit from 3 hours of daily therapy, five days a week.

Our program consists of professionals from a dozen areas of expertise, including:

  • Medical team: This includes a doctor specializing in pediatric rehabilitation medicine, often accompanied by a medical resident or student.

  • Rehabilitation nurse navigator: The nurse navigator works directly with the patient and family to support their journey throughout the rehabilitation program and facilitate ongoing communication with the entire rehabilitation team.

  • Physical therapy: A PT works with your child on basic motor skills such as crawling, walking, transfers and balance so they can achieve the greatest level of flexibility, strength and balance.

  • Occupational therapy: An OT helps your child regain independence and safety in daily living activities such as dressing, bathing, using the toilet, cooking, shopping and doing laundry.

  • Speech-language pathology: This expert helps your child with speaking, feeding/eating, swallowing and cognitive skills such as memory, attention, problem solving and reasoning.

  • Case management: Communication between the health care team and your insurance company is coordinated by the case manager, who also helps families plan for your child’s return home.

  • Social work: Our social worker assists with any financial or community resources your child may need during and after the hospital stay. Emotional support for your child and family members is also provided by our social worker.

  • Therapeutic recreation: The therapeutic recreation specialist uses play or other activities to maintain or improve your child’s quality of life and help you and your child to be ready to go out into the community after leaving the hospital.

  • Child life specialist: This specialist uses play, distraction and other tools to minimize stress and anxiety children can experience in a health care setting.

  • Music therapist: This specialist uses music to help support children reach their motor, communication, cognitive and social/emotional goals.

  • Health psychologist: This expert helps you and your child adjust and cope with health and lifestyle changes during the hospital stay.

  • Rehabilitation counselor: This person manages communication involving the family, school and the rehabilitation team to help your child have a smooth transition back to school.

  • School teacher: A teacher who is based at the children’s hospital works with your child to be sure they keep up with their peers during the hospital stay.

  • Dietitian: This specialist works with the rehabilitation team to ensure that your child receives proper nutrition.

  • Orthotist: This specialist works with the rehabilitation team to make any custom braces or splints your child may need.

  • Nurse: The bedside nurse provides ongoing care during your child’s hospital stay and helps teach you about caregiving and medication needs in preparation for return to home.

Insurance coverage

Working with your insurance company

Our program works with most insurance companies, Medicaid, Medicare and self-pay arrangements. We are in-network with most insurance plans and also work with many out-of-network plans. Please check with your insurance provider about coverage. Preauthorization is required before admission.

If your patient needs our service

Referring a patient

If you are a provider who wishes to refer a patient to the UW Health Kids Inpatient Rehabilitation Program, please call the UW Health Access Center at (608) 263-3260 or 1-800-472-0111.

Program outcomes

Facts about our program

Inpatient pediatric rehabilitation program outcomes
Graphic outlining facts about the UW Health Kids Inpatient Rehabilitation Program

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Graphic outlining facts about the UW Health Kids Inpatient Rehabilitation Program