Inpatient Rehabilitation

Seattle Children’s Inpatient Rehabilitation treats babies, children, teens and young adults up to age 21 who need intensive daily therapy in the hospital for a new, sudden illness or injury or to heal after complex surgery.

Our pediatric experts provide comprehensive therapy to help your child:

  • Dress, walk, talk, and eat.
  • Take part in school and the community.
  • Return home as soon as possible, doing as much as they can on their own.

Why choose Seattle Children’s Inpatient Rehabilitation?

Seattle Children's Inpatient Rehabilitation unit is certified as a Pediatric Family-Centered Program by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

We have been named a level 1 Pediatric Trauma Rehabilitation Center by the Washington State Department of Health.

  • Comprehensive, custom-made therapy plans
    • During the first few days in Inpatient Rehabilitation, the entire team evaluates your child’s needs and designs a custom treatment plan. We partner with you and your child to set goals, which will change as your child improves.
    • Your child receives individual and group therapy at least 3 hours a day, Monday through Friday, typically in both the morning and the afternoon, and 1.5 hours on Saturday. The amount and type of services depend on your child’s unique needs and may include:
      • Occupational therapy
      • Physical therapy
      • Speech therapy
      • Music therapy
      • Therapeutic recreation
      • Rehabilitation psychology
      • Nutrition
      • School services
      • Social work
      • Care coordination
    • To help your child make progress, we involve your family in therapy and push your child to learn and practice the skills they will need when they leave the hospital.
    • Each day, a team of doctors, nurses and specialists comes to your child’s bedside to talk with you, review progress and answer questions. Each week, we meet with your family to discuss how your child is doing and how long to continue inpatient rehab.
    • You, your child and your care team decide together when your child no longer needs daily therapy and is ready to leave the hospital. We prepare you for the transition, plan outpatient therapy if needed and see your child in clinic for follow-up.
  • Safe, high-quality care from experts
    • We have a dedicated rehab medicine team that specializes in helping children adapt to changes or congenital conditions that affect function.

    • Your child’s team includes doctors who are board certified in pediatric rehabilitation medicine, pediatric nurse practitioners, certified rehabilitation registered nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, certified therapeutic recreation specialists and rehabilitation psychologists.

    • A rehabilitation doctor is available at all times to quickly address any medical concerns your child has.

    • All the specialty services your child may need – like pharmacy, lab and radiology – are here so we can provide the safest, highest-quality care around the clock.

    • Based on your child’s condition, we involve specialists from around Seattle Children’s. If your child is having surgery like selective dorsal rhizotomy or single-event multilevel surgery, we work closely with their surgery team in advance to plan their intensive rehab.

  • We specialize in children and families
    • Many rehab centers in the community will accept children but are focused on adult patients, who often have very different conditions and needs. Here, we focus only on children.
    • Our team has special training and experience with pediatric conditions and the treatments that are right for children as they grow and develop.
    • Our facilities are designed just for children. They include 4,000 square feet of rehab space indoors and 1,500 square feet outdoors, child-size equipment and special devices like SafeGait, which provides a controlled way for your child to work on balance and walking.
    • Your family is at the center of care. Parents are part of the team, helping set goals and participating in rehab sessions. We provide training and support to prepare you to meet your child’s unique needs at home.
    • We know that helping your child go home can be hard. We’re here for you. Every member of your child’s team wants the best results for your child. We welcome your questions and want to hear any concerns you have.
  • Wrap-around services to support your child and you
    • If you’re from outside the Seattle area, we have experience and resources to help with transportationplaces to stay and more. To get started, visit Guest Services and the Hospital Campus Visitor and Family Guide.
    • Teachers from our on-site schoolhelp your child stay up on their class work. As your child gets ready to return to school, we work with you to make the transition a success.
    • To help your child and family cope, we offer Child Life specialistssocial workersspiritual care,and art, music, and pet therapy.
    • Interpretersare available all day for therapy sessions and other times you want help to talk with your child’s care team.
    • Before your child leaves the hospital, we teach you about your child’s condition and topics like how to help them do as much as they can on their own, how to provide the care they need at home, and how to use any equipment they need. We help you with a 24-hour “practice day” to make sure you’re ready before your child leaves the hospital.
    • To make care easier for families, we have follow-up clinics in Anchorage, Alaska, and Billings and Missoula, Montana.
  • Excellent outcomes
    • More than 93% of children in our inpatient rehab program are discharged to their home communities. The national rate for similar facilities is just over 91%.
    • Patients meet an average of 95% of their goals before leaving the inpatient rehab program.
    • Most children in our inpatient rehab remain medically stable during their stay. We have a low rate of transferring children to a medical or surgical service to meet unplanned medical needs (6.08% last year).
    • Ninety-five percent of our families would recommend our program to others.
    • Learn more about inpatient rehabilitation patient outcomes (PDF).

Conditions We Treat

We provide care for children and teens with a range of complex conditions that affect function, including these:

  • Brain and spinal cord tumors

    A brain or spinal cord tumor is a lump formed by an abnormal growth of cells. Some tumors are considered “benign” (not cancer), and some are considered “malignant” or “cancer” because they grow fast or spread to other areas. Inpatient rehab may help with the effects of your child’s tumor or the effects of their treatment, such as brain surgery. Read more.

  • Cancer

    Seattle Children’s experts diagnose and treat young people with all types of cancers and blood disorders, including brain cancer, bone and soft tissue sarcoma, leukemia and lymphoma. Inpatient rehab may help your child recover from their cancer or from the treatment they needed to fight the disease. Read more.

  • Cerebral palsy, spasticity or dystonia

    Cerebral palsy (CP) affects muscle movement. Usually it is caused by damage to 1 or more areas of the brain. Some children with spasticity or dystonia from CP or another condition benefit from selective dorsal rhizotomy or single-event multilevel surgery. To get the best results, these surgeries are followed by intensive rehab. Read more about CP.

  • Encephalitis or meningitis

    Encephalitis is inflammation of your child’s brain. Meningitis is inflammation of the tissue that covers their brain and spinal cord. Both conditions can be caused by a virus or bacteria. If the illness is severe, it can lead to neurologic deficits that may benefit from inpatient rehab. 

  • Guillain-Barré syndrome

    Guillain-Barré syndrome is muscle weakness and tingling that happen when your child’s immune system attacks their nerves. Weakness may make it hard for your child to move their arms and legs or, rarely, to breathe or swallow. Most children recover with no lasting weakness. Inpatient rehab may help your child regain strength. 

  • Spinal cord injury

    The effects of an injury to your child’s spinal cord depend on how severe the injury is and where the injury happened along their spine. Feeling and movement may be affected below the point of the injury. Inpatient rehab can be very important as your child relearns skills they had before and learns new ways to use their changed body.

    We provide inpatient rehabilitation to patients under 17 years of age with spinal cord injuries or diseases, regardless of the cause, level, or completeness of the injury.  In addition to their spinal cord injury or disease, if your child has a brain injury, bone fracture, a change in their bladder and/or bowel function, needs a ventilator to breathe, or needs radiation or chemotherapy, they can still participate in our inpatient rehabilitation program as long as they are medically stable (which our team can help you determine). Patients who are 17 years of age or older with a spinal cord injury or disease can reach out to the Northwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury System at Harborview Medical Center or the University of Washington Medical Center for inpatient rehabilitation.

  • Stroke

    Stroke happens when blood that carries oxygen and nutrients stops flowing to part of the brain, either from a clot or from an extensive bleed. Without a steady supply of blood, brain cells in the area begin to die. This can lead to short-term or long-term neurologic deficits that range from mild to serious. Inpatient rehab may help your child recover function and adapt to changes caused by stroke. Read more.

  • Traumatic brain injury

    A force that impacts your child’s head or body can injure their brain in many different ways — for example, by making their brain hit the inside of their skull, which can bruise the brain, or by fracturing the skull and allowing bone or another object to enter the brain itself. Effects that happen soon after the initial event, like swelling inside the skull, can harm your child’s brain too. After traumatic brain injury, some children need inpatient rehab to work intensively on movement, balance, speech, memory or other skills.

Services We Provide

We provide services that include:

  • Occupational therapy

    Occupational therapists (OTs) assess how well your child can do tasks such as dressing, bathing, eating, playing and school activities. Through play and exercise, the OT will set therapy goals to help your child build upper-body strength and coordination to complete daily tasks. Read more

  • Physical therapy

    Physical therapists (PTs) assess how well your child can sit, stand and move. They will help your child build strength, balance and coordination. If needed, they also will teach your child to use equipment like crutches or a wheelchair. They will set therapy goals to help your child with overall mobility. Read more

  • Speech and language services

    Speech-language pathologists assess how well your child can speak, understand, read, write and swallow. They will set therapy goals to help your child communicate or swallow better. Read more

  • Rehabilitation psychology/neuropsychology

    Rehabilitation psychologists provide strategies and resources to help your child cope with illness or injury and being in the hospital. They will assess how well your child can think, remember and solve problems. They will help your child with plans for returning to school and home. Read more.

  • Therapeutic recreation

    Certified therapeutic recreation specialists evaluate your child’s recreation and leisure skills, interests and needs. They will teach your child leisure and play skills. They also will assess your child’s social skills and help your child return to home and school.

  • Support and resources

    A social worker works with you to provide emotional support and get the resources you need like financial aid, lodging and assistance in caring for your child when you go home. Read more.

  • School

    Certified teachers evaluate your child’s school skills while in the hospital. They help your child keep up with their current courses and work closely with your child’s school when your child is ready to go back to school. Read more.

Based on your child’s situation, we will provide services from other clinics and programs at Seattle Children’s, like these:

Scheduling With Inpatient Rehabilitation

Contact Us

For more information, contact Inpatient Rehabilitation at 206-987-2114, option 5. If you would like an appointment, ask your child’s primary care provider or specialist for a referral.

Providers, please call the Inpatient Rehabilitation intake line at 206-987-0163 to refer a patient.

Paying for Care

Learn about paying for care at Seattle Children’s, including insurance coverage, billing and financial assistance.

Access Additional Resources

Get resources for patients and families, including information on food, housing, transportation, financial assistance, mental health and more.