LOMA LINDA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Totally Kids Rehabilitation Hospital announced today the opening of a unique program expressly designed to treat newborns with medically complex conditions upon discharge from a hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.
“Activities for age-appropriate development are minimal in a NICU where human touch is usually limited to actions related to medical care (e.g., IV lines; injections; etc.), and the environment itself is not conducive to infant and toddler development,” says Murray Brandstater, M.D., medical advisor and director of research for the Totally Infants Program. “Our new and much-needed program speeds up the development that has been missing in these children by focusing on multiple areas of need and inpatient rehabilitation therapies that are so essential for a successful transition to home.”
Dr. Brandstater explains that many newborns who come out of a NICU are diagnosed as having failure to thrive. Children with this diagnosis usually don’t meet the recognized standards of growth due to being undernourished or being unable to process enough calories. Children who fail to thrive often have other complications that stall their normal development. Unless those complications are treated in a timely manner, children may not be able to recover and/or achieve developmental milestones that would allow them to lead a normal life.
Historically faced with this challenge, parents have found themselves left with the choice of leaving their child in the NICU for a longer period of time than optimally beneficial, placing their child in a clinic or becoming dependent on home health care. Now there is a better alternative available.
The new program at Totally Kids provides 24-hour care and customized therapy to ensure that each child reaches the age-appropriate developmental milestones that give them the best chance to live normal lives and minimize long-term effects. “This type of intensive rehabilitation speeds up the development that has been missing in these children, which, if dealt with in a timely manner gives them the best chance of success,” says Dr. Brandstater.
To serve these children, the hospital has assembled a multidisciplinary staff that is highly trained to work with children who require intensive rehabilitation and special medical care. Upon admission this clinical team evaluates and assesses the child’s neurological status, functional status, developmental levels, and nursing and medical needs. The team then develops a customized rehabilitation program that focuses on the areas of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, play therapy, respiratory therapy and child development.
In heading the new program, Dr. Brandstater brings to Totally Kids and its patients an extensive medical background that includes serving more than 30 years as the chairman of the department of physical rehabilitation and medicine at Loma Linda University. He is a former medical director of pediatric rehabilitation at Loma Linda University Medical Center and previously served Totally Kids as its medical director of pediatric rehabilitation from 2007-2015.
The launch of this new program comes on the heels of last month’s announcement that Totally Kids had received all regulatory approvals to expand its license to provide early intervention care and therapy services for infants and young children—ages birth to 3 years—with complex physical rehabilitation needs. As a result, the hospital now has the capacity to serve patients with these needs, from birth to age 21. Similar to the hospital’s highly acclaimed pediatric acute rehabilitation program, these younger patients may include, but not be limited to, those with neurological illness and injuries, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic injuries, burns, traumas and late effects of cancer treatment.
Serving children and their families for nearly 50 years, Totally Kids is regarded as a national leader in providing personalized rehabilitation and habilitation services for children with a family-centered emphasis. Totally Kids offers a full array of resources for children who are recovering from physical trauma or surgery or have suffered catastrophic illness and those dependent on technology through a portfolio of acclaimed programs and services that includes acute pediatric rehabilitation (both inpatient and outpatient), subacute, pediatric day health and residential intermediate care.