The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian (MSCHONY) offers a wide variety of services for children from birth to 25 years. Our team of a Pediatric Physiatrist (Rehabilitation Medicine physician), occupational and physical therapists work closely with patients referred from the Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery teams to improve function and quality of life on an inpatient and outpatient basis. Several of our therapists are Board-certified in Pediatrics and many have advanced training in specialty areas, including Neuro Developmental Treatment (NDT) and dysphagia.
Each patient receives an individualized and detailed evaluation and treatment plan by an occupational and/or physical therapist. The evaluation may include gross and fine motor development, eating and swallowing functions, ambulation and mobility, activities of daily living and play-leisure skills. By creating a playful atmosphere in therapy, a wide variety of interventions are used to achieve successful outcomes. Using their knowledge of the structure and function of the heart, body, and brain, therapists will plan an activity and use skilled techniques to improve function and reach patient/parent goals. Physical therapists specialized in cardiopulmonary techniques work with patients at the bedside during inpatient stays to improve strength, endurance, balance, and mobility while promoting heart and lung function. Occupational therapists may assist with promoting coordination, cognitive development, academic strategies and social coping skills. In the case of infants and young children, physical and occupational therapists facilitate the development of gross and fine motor skills including rolling, sitting, standing and independent mobility which may be hindered in cases of congenital cardiac disease or other disorders that affect the heart. Heart and lung responses to activity are carefully monitored. Our team works closely with families to meet the physical and emotional needs of their children during the rehabilitation process.
On an outpatient basis, physical and occupational therapists offer a combination of supervised exercise, education and psychosocial support specifically designed for the specialized needs of our patients with cardiac disease. This program includes endurance, strength and flexibility exercises in a monitored and safe environment. Education topics include basic review of the structure and function of the heart, modification of risk factors (when appropriate), and guidance in establishing a healthy exercise routine.