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Patient services

Patient services

The patient is the most important person at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie and is always at the center of everything we do. Throughout our exceptional specialty pediatric care continuum, whether in the first visit in our outpatient specialty care clinic or the 20th visit of recurring therapy, the cornerstones of our success have been our continued multidisciplinary team effort and partnership with the child and parent/guardian.

Our center of nurses, therapists, child life specialists, dietitians, care management experts and physicians work collaboratively, professionally and passionately together to care for the children entrusted to our care. Care is continuously improved through the relationships that staff have with the patient and family, collaboration within the interdisciplinary team, staff participation in care related committees, research findings, and evaluation of care through performance improvement activities. Our patient care services leaders are hands-on, visible and exceptional leaders supporting their staff to provide the very best possible care.

Family-centered care

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie practices family-centered care that embraces the whole family. We strive to support families in their natural caregiving roles by building upon their unique strengths, recognizing their individuality and respecting their different methods of coping. The collaboration and expertise of the staff with patients and families enables the team to devise a global approach to care, with treatment plans that go beyond an individual medical discipline. Outcomes are maximized through this interdisciplinary approach to care.

Care management

The care management team at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie consists of nurses and social workers whose role is to be a patient advocate, resource link and consistent contact person for those children we serve with complex medical and psychosocial needs. Some of these services include assisting with the development of a patient’s care plan, linking community-based services with those services offered at the Erie Shriners Medical Center, helping a child prepare for surgery, addressing school related concerns, completing referrals to outside specialists, and assisting with insurance related issues. In addition to the services listed above, social workers assist families with payment concerns and arrangement of transportation, interpreter services, housing and meal assistance.


Nursing at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie is committed to excellence in every interaction with each patient and family. From our inception, high-quality nursing care has contributed to the Erie Shriners Medical Center’s reputation as a leader in pediatric orthopaedic care. Safe, compassionate family-centered care is our top priority. Low nurse-to-patient ratios allow for pediatric nursing care that meets the individualized medical and emotional needs of each patient and family.

Nurses at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie love what they do and strive to continually uphold the high standards that have defined our care. With over one-third of our nurses holding a specialty certification, advancing and maintaining knowledge in various areas of expertise is highly valued. Close-knit relations with our team of physicians, ongoing quality improvement initiatives and continuing education opportunities for nursing staff aim to ensure practice that is evidence-based and current.

Outpatient services

The Outpatient Specialty Care Center serves as the hub of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie’s activity with numerous medical and allied health practitioners housed within one department. Our vast array of multidisciplinary specialty care clinics include focus on cerebral palsy; spina bifida; hand/upper extremity, including brachial plexus birth palsy, limb deficiency (amputee), torticollis/plagiocephaly, oral motor/feeding, and our FIERCE sports medicine clinic designed specifically for the female athlete. The Erie Shriners Medical Center offers the French functional method taping regimen as appropriate for babies with club feet and Mehta casting as appropriate for juveniles with scoliosis. Standard physician clinics run concurrent to multidisciplinary specialty clinics, including spine, general orthopaedic and fracture care. Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie outpatient clinic provides for the very best in collaborative care.

Child life

Visiting a health care setting can often be stressful for children and families. Child life specialists at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie are advocates for children and are trained to help children and their families cope through medical challenges. Children who are prepared for their medical experiences have less fear, increased cooperation and fewer negative responses. Child life specialists will help children understand what is happening using age-appropriate information and play. Child life specialists can help to ease a child’s fears and worries about having surgery. They will offer preparation, support and distraction techniques during medical procedures and provide many opportunities for diversion and play while visiting us. For more information, and to discuss available support for your child, call 814-875-8700 and ask for a child life staff member.


Rehabilitation is an important component of care. Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie offers both occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) as the keystones to recovery. In addition, the medical center offers an area-exclusive motion capture system within its state-of-the-art motion analysis center.

Therapy at the Erie Shriners Medical Center is multifaceted. Whether post-injury or post-operative, PT helps children improve their level of function so they can optimize their independence. PT also helps correct deformity (torticollis, plagiocephaly, clubfoot), reduce pain, progress developmental mobility or ensure an athlete is ready to return to sport. OT focuses on improving function for activities of daily living. OT at the Erie Shriners Medical Center also focuses on a child’s ability to eat (oral motor), power an arm prosthesis or improve occupational skills such as writing management (visual and fine motor). Specialty wheelchair and equipment evaluations are offered by experts in both therapy disciplines. Each patient’s program is tailored to his or her individual needs and developmental abilities. Family involvement is highly encouraged and crucial. Much like most of the care at the Erie Shriners Medical Center, success in rehabilitation requires a team effort between the patient, family and therapists.

Motion analysis is another component of the rehabilitation department at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie. Here, state-of-the-art motion capture cameras linked with computer software, specialized force plates embedded within the floor and electromyography (EMG) are used to break down functional movement into body position, body force data and muscle activity. Combined with staff specially trained in biomechanics and knowledgeable in related areas of research, motion analysis provides a more in-depth understanding of a child’s movement disorder, whether during walking or functional limitations in the arms. This program aides our team in treatment planning, provides for accurate change pre-/post-treatment and is a key component in the research performed at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie.

Speech therapy

Speech-language pathology evaluation services are available for patients referred to our cerebral palsy specialty care and oral motor/feeding clinics specifically for speech, language, cognitive-communication and swallowing disorders.

Feeding clinic

A feeding clinic is available to help empower the caregiver to achieve optimal nutritional potential for his or her child through safe and efficient feeding practices. An intensive, pediatric nurse practioner-led interdisciplinary approach is used to evaluate a child for potential oral motor deficits and feeding issues, as well as develop a comprehensive, individualized treatment plan. Candidates might include infants with failure to thrive, or children with oral sensory motor issues, self-feeding difficulties, enteral to oral feeding transition, oral aversion and/or nutritional compromise related to any of the above.

Nutrition services

The dietitians play a vital role in the treatment of our orthopaedic patients, as diet is crucial to the development and the healing process of pediatric bones. The dietitian providing medical nutrition therapy is an essential component of comprehensive health care. Orthopaedic patients are often too thin or too heavy for normal bone growth and development. If not treated properly, a child can quickly lose or gain a great deal of weight and become malnourished or affect their overall growth potential.

The goal of nutrition services is to optimize the nutrition status of the children served at the Erie Shriners Medical Center. This includes improved healing and growth with an individualized, family-centered plan of care. To successfully treat and address the nutritional needs of an orthopaedic patient, the dietitians at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie use formulas to calculate and adjust how many macronutrients a patient requires based on individual characteristics such as weight, height, age, medical diagnosis and activity level. Nutrition supplements are often needed to provide children what they need to develop and heal.

Medical nutrition therapy is offered in a myriad of settings both team and individualized.

Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services – Northeast, LLC

Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services (POPS) – Northeast, LLC staff creates custom orthoses and prostheses at this child-friendly, state-of-the-art facility. Patients are able to choose their favorite colors and patterns during the fabrication process of their device.

Read more about Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services


Radiology provides a window into the body for the physician to assess pathology, extent of deformity or injury, and physical changes over time. It is a key component for diagnosis, treatment planning and surgical correction as part of the patient care team. The radiology department has a child-friendly environment and the technologists are skilled in making pediatric patients comfortable. We strive to keep radiation doses as low as possible during X-rays by tailoring technical factors to the appropriate age and size of our patients.

Motion analysis center

In the motion analysis center at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie, our patients’ motion patterns are carefully measured with specialized protocols and technologies. The quantitative data provides an objective basis for clinical decision-making and treatment planning by our experienced, multidisciplinary team of orthopaedic Physicians, physical therapists and kinesiologists.

Read more about the motion analysis center.