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news item News Monday, December 17, 2018 Monday, December 17, 2018 8:46 AM - Monday, December 17, 2018 8:46 AM

Inpatient rehabilitation: Josh’s journey

Fourteen-year-old Josh, from Worcester, Massachusetts, had an accident while using his powered wheelchair at school. Josh, who has cerebral palsy, often requires some assistance from others, but his injuries left him unable to move about and care for himself as much as he did before the accident. He needed intensive rehabilitation therapy to help improve his mobility and reduce his dependence on others, and he needed to achieve this rather quickly. Josh was slated to start high school in just a few months and he did not want anything to prevent him from getting there.

With that goal in mind, Josh’s family looked for a rehabilitation program that would provide the multiple therapies he needed, in a structured environment guided by an interdisciplinary team of experienced professionals. They chose to bring him to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Springfield.

The inpatient rehabilitation program at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Springfield is the only one of its kind in western Massachusetts. “We provide coordinated child- and family-focused care for children up to age 18 who have suffered an injury or illness resulting in disability. Our program was created for patients who are well enough to be discharged from an acute hospital, but still need to rehabilitate to maximize quality of life and live as independently as possible at home, school and within the community,” said Program Director Sheryl L. Moriarty, MOT, OTR/L, CDRS.

Patients participate in a minimum of three hours of combined physical, occupational and/or speech therapy five days a week, using state-of-the-art rehabilitation equipment not common in other programs. When not in therapy, patients are monitored around the clock by pediatric nurses who specialize in rehabilitative care. Spacious private rooms are equipped with Wi-Fi and entertainment technology, and offer a sleeping option to parents who choose to stay with their child overnight. Just steps away, a sun-filled atrium invites patients and families to enjoy toys, games and technology appropriate for all ages and abilities.

“Josh received three hours of physical and occupational therapy five days a week,” said pediatric physiatrist Kerstin Sobus, M.D., the medical director for the inpatient rehabilitation program. “He frequently used the Zero G, a dynamic body-weight support and fall protection device, to work on his ambulation. Within the first 10 days, he was already supporting 50 percent of his body weight, which was a great gain. In occupational therapy, Josh improved his independence, performing activities of daily living such as eating, brushing his teeth and transferring from his wheelchair to a chair.”

Thanks to all of Josh’s hard work in the inpatient rehabilitation program, the most significant transfer Josh made over the summer was to life as a high school freshman back home!

To inquire about inpatient rehabilitative care for your child or to make a referral, contact clinical liaison Susan Tapases, RN, BSN, at 413-386-4581 or via email.

Josh in wheelchair, wearing Zero G harness, about to attempt to stand