Paediatric rehabilitation is a family-centred, specialist area of rehabilitation for children and young people who as the result of injury, a health condition or surgical or medical intervention would benefit from a multidisciplinary program of goal-directed care.

Paediatric rehabilitation aims to improve a child or young person’s function and their participation in the home, school and community. Working with families as partners in care is an important part of paediatric rehabilitation. Services provided include consultation, assessment, planning, intervening and co-ordinating rehabilitation care. 

Paediatric rehabilitation services can assist families, children and young people identify personal goals that are meaningful to them. Achieving goals can have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of children, young people and their families.

Who are the NSW Paediatric Rehabilitation Services (NSW PRS)?

In NSW there are three specialist paediatric rehabilitation services collectively known as the NSW PRS:

  • Kids Rehab, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead
  • Rehab2Kids, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick
  • HNEkidsRehab, Hunter New England Kids Health, Newcastle

The level of paediatric rehabilitation care provided at these sites is classified as tertiary and quaternary, as they are specialised services. Patients have often been linked in or accessed community or local health services (referred to as primary and secondary services), prior to being referred to the NSW PRS. Each NSW PRS is led by a medical specialist and a multidisciplinary team to meet the rehabilitation needs of children and young people referred for services.

The NSW PRS teams are working together with families on a common vision to create: “the right rehab care, at the right time, by the right team and in the right place”.

Our aim is to ensure that all children and young people in NSW have equal access to paediatric rehabilitation services (regardless of where they live). Your local team will work with the NSW PRS to assess the best service to refer your child to.

What is a multidisciplinary team?

NSW PRS multidisciplinary teams are made up of skilled health care professionals. Who a child or young person sees during their rehabilitation program will depend on their needs and goals. This may include:

  • Paediatric Rehabilitation Medicine Physician
  • Allied Health Assistant
  • Case Manager
  • Child Life Therapist
  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Clinical Neuropsychologist
  • Nurse
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Speech Pathologist
  • Social Worker

Families are an important part of the NSW PRS team. The teams also work closely with local health care teams to support the shared care of the child or young person in their own community.

NSW PRS Programs

  • Consultations for patients in hospital
  • Staying overnight on a hospital ward for intensive inpatient rehabilitation
  • Daily visits to the hospital for intensive Day Rehabilitation
  • Regular visits for intensive outpatient rehabilitation
  • Outpatient therapy or home, school and community visits
  • Outpatient multidisciplinary clinics (face-to face or telehealth appointments)

NSW PRS Clinical Services

Services your child needs are considered at the time of referral and may include access to the following services and/or clinics:

  • Brain injury 
  • Cerebral palsy & movement disorders 
  • Combined orthopaedic and rehabilitation
  • Complex musculoskeletal conditions
  • Inpatient rehabilitation (including day rehabilitation)
  • Limb difference 
  • Spinal cord injury and conditions 
  • Spina bifida
  • Botulinum toxin
  • Intrathecal baclofen
  • Selective dorsal rhizotomy

To find out more information about the individual services at each hospital, click on the tile corresponding to the hospital you are after, below.

Who can be referred to the NSW PRS?

Children and young people are eligible to receive services provided through NSW PRS if they have complex rehabilitation needs and:

  • have an identified health condition
  • live in NSW or ACT
  • are aged between 0-16 years
  • need consultation with a Paediatric Rehabilitation Medicine Physician
  • have goals for rehabilitation
  • have difficulties and limitations participating in their daily activities
  • need multidisciplinary medical, nursing or allied health services

How to make a referral

Click on your relevant service below to find out more about the referral process:

Kids Rehab at The Children's Hospital at Westmead

Rehab2Kids at Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick

What is family engagement?

The NSW PRS are working together to provide the “right rehab care, with the right team, in the right place, at the right time”.

Involving families is an important way to understand how the rehabilitation services can achieve this goal and improve our services. The rehabilitation teams wish to partner with families in decisions about planning care and services that we provide to children and young people.

Ways families can be involved in the NSW PRS

Family engagement can happen in many ways - from being informed of what is happening in the NSW PRS, to being part of one off or ongoing projects. Families can choose the time they can be involved, from a little to a lot. Here are some ways to get involved:

1. Being informed by:

  • getting email or updates of NSW PRS activities
  • reading fact sheets with general information about the NSW PRS rehabilitation services.

2. Being consulted by:

  • completing a survey or Patient Reported Experience Measurement (PREM) PREM survey about your experience of care by the NSW PRS. The PREM survey covers questions about the care and information children and families receive and how involved consumers felt.
  • providing feedback on written consumer information to check if the content meets the needs of families
  • speaking with NSW PRS staff about your experience of care

 3. Partnering with us by:

  • being part of NSW PRS working parties or staff workshops or forums being involved in quality improvement and research projects

4. Being empowered by:

  • being part of a NSW PRS committee that advises or creates ideas for the NSW PRS

Families have worked with the NSW PRS in a number of different projects to:

  • improve the information we share with families
  • develop consistent referral information
  • how to make choices about telehealth

Future project work the NSW PRS would like to have families involved are:

  • suggesting modifications on the rehabilitation website pages
  • work with local services to provide shared care close to home
  • opportunities to form an advisory group

Words from one of our family members involved in a NSW PRS working party:

“Our son has been cared for by Rehab2Kids for nearly 11 years and being able to participate and contribute as a consumer in the model of care has had two fold benefits for myself and in fact our family, firstly an opportunity to give back in some way but almost more importantly to try and help in some small way so that everyone in NSW can have access to the same amazing care and kindness our family has had and continues to have from the many services we access” - Karen.

How to provide feedback to the Rehabilitation team:

If you wish to pass on a compliment or have any concerns about the care you receive, please speak to any of the rehabilitation staff. We are happy to discuss any concerns you might have and can direct you to people who can best answer your questions.

To get in contact with your team, click on your relevant service below.

Moving to adult healthcare services 

In healthcare, we use the word “transition” to describe the process of planning, preparing and moving from a children’s healthcare service to an adult healthcare service.

Transition should a gradual process and starting early will give you or your child time to prepare for the move (but it’s never too late to start!).

Preparation and early planning helps you and your child make a smooth transition and gain confidence and independence. 

  • See Trapeze, the Network's support service for young people transitioning from the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network to the adult healthcare system or;
  • Visit the Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI), whose Transition Care Service also provides help with moving from paediatric to adult healthcare services. 

ACI works closely with the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network’s Trapeze program.

Trapeze and ACI work collaboratively with young people, their families and health team to improve continuity of care for young people.