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Shriners Hospitals for Children — Springfield

516 Carew St. Springfield, MA 01104

Springfield, MA


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Patient programs

The BFit program – the power to move

These power based exercise programs are designed to aid our patients with neuromuscular diseases such as cerebral palsy. Working with physical therapy and exercise science students from area colleges, participants are actively involved in exercises designed to help them walk faster, have better quality movements and learn to be more active at home.

With the assistance of doctoral students from the University of Hartford, we developed our program based on a review of the literature on the effectiveness of strengthening programs for children and adolescents. Recent studies show that traditional strengthening programs build strength but do not translate into improved function, such as walking faster or further. In order to do this, we need to incorporate a component of power into the program. Power training involves moving at faster speeds and lower loads than traditional strengthening. BFit integrates socialization with college students as personal coaches, expert supervision by physical and occupational therapy staff from our hospital, music for motivation and energy, and a wide variety of group and individual exercises.

Patients have seen improvement in physical functioning by being able to walk better and faster. They feel they are participating in an activity where they belong, which empowers them to work harder to become stronger. BFit has also created positive changes that were unexpected. Parents have noticed that their children are more focused in school and interested in trying new things.

Pet therapy

For over 15 years, Shriners Hospitals for Children — Springfield has enjoyed a relationship with the K-9s for Kids program. Trained handlers bring their dogs to the hospital twice a month to interact with patients and families in an effort to help normalize the hospital setting.

The benefits of pet therapy include:

The Reach Out and Read model

Doctors, nurse practitioners, and other medical professionals incorporate Reach Out and Read's evidence-based, three-part model into regular pediatric checkups in the hospital’s outpatient department: