When Your Child Needs In-Patient Rehabilitation

Introduction

Each brain injury is different and so is each child's recovery. As you look ahead to when your child will leave the hospital, the question becomes "What's next?" Some children will need rehabilitation. This can be arranged several ways. Some children will stay in the hospital and be moved to a special unit for rehabilitation. Others may be moved to a rehabilitation hospital. Others may go home and get rehabilitation at out-patient clinics, at home, or at school. This chapter is written for parents who are considering in-patient rehabilitation as the next stage of care for their child's brain injury.

Choosing a rehabilitation program for your child can be confusing and stressful. It is more than simply deciding between in-patient or out-patient care. It means finding a program with experience and resources that your child needs, knowing what it will cost and what medical programs and insurance cover, involving your family in the decision, and deciding how far to travel for visits.

Questions that parents often ask are:

  1. What does rehabilitation mean?
  2. Why can't my child come home now?
  3. How long will rehabilitation take?
  4. How do I choose a rehabilitation program?
  5. Will my insurance pay for this?
  6. Who will help us with this process?

This chapter provides information on rehabilitation programs. However, the main focus of the chapter is in-patient rehabilitation programs, because parents may find it difficult to decide which in-patient program to use. If your child will be using out-patient or school-based rehabilitation, the information in this chapter is still valuable as it explains what rehabilitation can do for your child. For additional information about home-based rehabilitation, see "Preparing for Your Child's Homecoming". For information about school-based rehabilitation, see "Meeting Your Child's Educational Needs".

This chapter will help you:

You may have mixed emotions about rehabilitation, especially if the hospital staff recommends in-patient rehabilitation for your child. Many parents get through the long days of hospital care by holding on to the hope that when their child comes home, "Life will finally get back to normal". The news that your child needs more care in a rehabilitation program may feel like "good news and bad news". On one hand, it is a sign that your child is getting better. Your child is getting stronger and more alert. But the fact that your child needs more care may lead you to ask, "Does this mean my child will be disabled? Will my child ever be the same again?" and "What difference will rehabilitation make?"