Pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), sometimes known as physiatry or rehabilitation medicine, aims to enhance and restore functional ability and quality of life to those with physical impairments or disabilities affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. The goals of the pediatric physiatrist are to maximize patients’ independence in activities of daily living and improve their quality of life. Cooper pediatric PM&R specialists work with children and teens to build strength, gross and fine motor skills, coordination, balance, and endurance to help them achieve their full potential.
Patients Who Should Be Seen by Pediatric PM&R or Rehabilitation Services
At Cooper, our team works with patients who have a diverse range of issues, both acquired and congenital. Common diagnoses that PM&R doctors often help with include but are not limited to the following:
- Cerebral palsy
- Spinal cord injury
- Brain injury
- Tone and spasticity management, including Botox (botulinum) injections
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spina bifida
- Muscular dystrophy/neuromuscular disorders
- Orthotic/bracing needs
- Limb deficiency and amputation
- Neuromuscular disorders
Treatment of Pediatric PM&R or Rehabilitation Patients
Often the treatment goals for these patients include increasing mobility and the ability to take part in activities of daily living. The PM&R specialists will incorporate treatments such as occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT), and speech therapy and coordinate care with pediatricians and other specialists. At Cooper, our team will work to prescribe exercises, bracing, equipment, or therapies along with traditional medical interventions to help optimize function for our patients. We share your goal of increasing your child’s independence, and we want to help your child to function to the best of their abilities.
After a new trauma, a significant change in health status, or even after a prolonged hospitalization, the task of returning to school can be difficult and challenging. As a former teacher, Dr. Thomas Drake, a pediatric rehabilitation specialist, is well versed in the steps needed to help our patients to “return-to-learn.”
Integration With the Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper
Cooper pediatric PM&R provides consultations and often suggests plans for patients who are admitted to Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper due to injury or illness. As a Level II pediatric trauma provider, the highest designation possible, our team is skilled at providing care for severely injured patients. This includes not only the lifesaving management of severely injured or acutely ill children, but also their recovery and progress toward community reintegration. This is an essential role of the rehabilitation team here at Cooper.