Location, Physical Conditions, and Social Environment
Distance from home affects how often family, relatives, and friends can visit. If the program is nearby, you can see your child more easily, give encouragement and reassurance, speak with staff, and see firsthand what is going on. However, the benefit of being nearby is only one element to consider when evaluating what a program has to offer. Whether a program is in an urban, rural, or suburban area is a consideration for traveling time and expense. The physical setting affects the people living and working there.
Things to consider...
- How clean and neat are rooms and hallways?
- Do buildings look kept up and repaired?
- Are buildings accessible for children using wheelchairs and other equipment?
- What are the grounds and neighborhood like?
- What type of decor is there? Does it look like children live there?
- How crowded or spacious are rooms, hallways, and general areas?
- What type of fire protection and emergency exits are available?
You can "get the feel of a place" by meeting with the team and medical director or doctor in addition to your formal meeting with the admissions office. Notice how staff interact with patients and notice how staff interact with each other.
Suggested questions to ask...
- Does the rehabilitation program feel more like a hospital, nursing home, residential program, or short-term stay program?
- How much privacy do children have in their living areas?
- How are rooms arranged and decorated?
- How are roommates selected? Are children placed with adult roommates?
- What kind of recreation is available?
- How often do children go on outings in the community?
- What is the balance between individual and group activities?
Involvement of Parents
Talking with staff and becoming involved in your child's rehabilitation can help prepare you for the future. Look for ways to communicate with staff and become involved in your child's rehabilitation.
Suggested questions to ask and things to look for...
- Which staff listen to your concerns, ask for your input, and respond to your suggestions?
- How often and for how long can I stay with my child?
- Is counseling available for families? By whom is it offered?
- Are support groups for families offered at convenient meeting times?
- Is there special information written for families on brain injury and rehabilitation?
- Is there a family resource room where you can talk with other families or have some privacy outside your child's room?
- Are there educational programs about brain injury for families?
- Are there any programs to help brothers and sisters adjust?
- How often does the team meet with the family and who is invited?
- How will the family be taught about special care and equipment?
TIP: Ask to sit in on therapy sessions once in a while to become more familiar with your child's treatment.