Kids Rehab at The Children's Hospital at Westmead

Contact details

Kids Rehab is one of the largest paediatric rehabilitation units in Australia, caring for more than 2300 children and young people in NSW who have a range of disabilities, including acquired brain injury, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury and disease, spina bifida and limb deficiency.

Kids Rehab supports and assists children and young people to reach their full potential in all areas of development. This involves assessment, recommendations for interventions that help to restore functions that are lost after trauma or disease, follow-up review assessments and prevention strategies.

Kids Rehab is made up of these specialised services, each providing inpatient, outpatient and outreach services.

Kids Rehab also offers a consultative service in conjunction with other Hospital departments to assist children and young people with Connective Tissue, Neuromuscular and Neurodevelopmental problems.

Parents of children who are in rehabilitation may want to join our Kids Rehab Parent Advisory Committee.

Paediatric Rehabilitation Services referral process

NSW has three (3) specialist Paediatric Rehabilitation Services (NSW PRS):

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

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

Referrals need to be made by a doctor who is able to tell us about the child or young person’s complex needs. NSW PRS are tertiary level health services, so referrals from specialists (e.g. paediatricians) are preferred.

How to make a referral

A written referral can be provided by completing the NSW PRS referral form or by writing a letter that addresses all the eligibility criteria below.
Referrals are best made to the NSW PRS team in the Children’s Healthcare Network (CHN) region that the child or young person lives in:

  • Northern CHN – HNEkidsRehab
  • Southern CHN – Rehab2Kids, Sydney Children’s Hospital
  • Western CHN - Kids Rehab, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

Some referrals can be seen at a NSW PRS outside their CHN region, for example, if the child or young person already sees specialists at one of the children’s hospitals, it may be most suitable to refer to the NSW PRS that works with that hospital.

Referrers can discuss referrals outside the CHN region by calling the relevant NSW PRS. See Agency of Clinical Innovation.

Eligibility criteria

1. Health condition

The child or young person has a health condition.
NSW PRS does not exclude any specific health condition, but, we may not be the best service to help the child or young person you are referring. If we know other services that are better suited to their health condition we will suggest them.

2. Address

  • The child or young person lives in NSW or the ACT or are moving to these areas.
  • Children and young people who live interstate or overseas are considered for highly specialised rehabilitation programs.

3. Age

  • The child or young person is aged 0 - 17 years.
  • For young people aged 16-17, referral to adult services would be considered especially if the young person has left school.
  • Ante-natal referrals are considered if the child is likely to meet the other criteria when they are born.

4. Rehabilitation goals

  • NSW PRS provide goal directed care.
  • The child or young person, and/or their family, has goals that the NSW PRS can help them achieve
  • Formal goals do not need to be set at the time of referral, but the referral should tell us something about goals the family or the referrer have in mind.

Some examples of goals include:

  • help to improve the child or young person’s ability to move around safely
  • provide advice about new treatments or therapies
  • provide guidance about working with multidisciplinary teams
  • provide support for improving learning and friendships
  • provide education about future expectations and needs.

5. Need for a Paediatric Rehabilitation Medicine Physician

  • NSW PRS are medically led tertiary level services.
  • The child or young person needs a specialist rehabilitation medicine physician in addition to the medical services already involved.
  • Ideally, the child or young person has secondary level health care services already in place (e.g. a paediatrician).

Examples of services a specialist rehabilitation medicine physician can provide include:

  • leading a multidisciplinary team assessment
  • prescription of specialist equipment, orthotics or prosthetics
  • neuromodulation techniques
  • monitoring and planning to optimise development in young children who are expected to have disability.

6. Activity limitations and participation restriction

  • NSW PRS provide services to children and young people who experience disability
  • The child or young person is limited or restricted in some way from doing the things most children of the same age can do.

The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health framework uses the following categories to describe activities and participation that may be affected:

  • learning and applying knowledge e.g. watching, listening, reading, maths, problem solving
  • domestic life e.g. housework, food prep, shopping,
  • communication e.g. expressive, receptive, verbal, non-verbal, conversation
  • mobility e.g. walking, hand use, using transport
  • self-care e.g. washing, toileting, dressing, eating, health care
  • general tasks and demands e.g. doing simple tasks or multiple tasks
  • interpersonal interactions & relationships e.g. family, other children, other adults
  • major life areas e.g. education, managing money
  • community, social & civic life e.g. recreation, leisure, religion, culture.

7. Need for multidisciplinary medical, nursing, allied health services

  • NSW PRS provide services to children and young people with complex needs.
  • The child or young person has a need for more than one kind of health or disability related service.
  • The child or young person might be currently receiving those services, or they might need them need but not yet have them.

Examples include:

  • case management - occupational therapy
  • clinical psychology - physiotherapy
  • dietetics - social work
  • educational support - speech pathology
  • specialist medical doctor - nursing.

What happens after a referral is received

NSW PRS staff will assess the referral and, if more information is needed, they will contact the referrer or family.
If a child or young person meets all the criteria listed, staff will contact the family to talk about the NSW PRS.
If the NSW PRS is unable to see the child or young person, staff will contact you or the family to explain and offer ideas for other services instead.

Ideas will be made based on the information provided to the NSW PRS but without seeing the child or young person.
Waiting times for appointments will be different for each child or young person, depending on their needs.

While a family is waiting for an appointment with a NSW PRS they should continue to access the multidisciplinary services they need.

Services may be available in the community, at a local health district or hospital, privately or funded through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

Preparing for your appointment

Coming to see us? Here's some information to help you get ready.

Things to bring

  • Your Medicare Card
  • Any relevant medical, therapy or school reports for your child
  • Any splints, orthotics or mobility equipment which your child uses

Getting here and parking

  • Parking in and around The Children’s Hospital at Westmead can be challenging. Street parking is limited so allow plenty of time to arrive for your appointment.
  • The Children’s Assessment Centre is approximately 300m from the multi-storey car park (fees apply)
  • If you have an RMS Mobility Permit, Health Care Card, Gold Veterans Card or Pensioner Concession Card, you are eligible for parking concessions. Visit the Secure Parking office on level 2 to validate your parking ticket before returning to your car.

The Children's Assessment Centre

  • Check-in for your appointment at the Reception desk in the Children’s Assessment Centre on Level 3.
  • For assistance with directions, see this map
  • The clinic nurse will measure your child’s weight and height while you are waiting to be seen.

During your appointment

  • Your first appointment at Kids Rehab may be up to 1 hour long.
  • You will see one of our rehabilitation doctors.
  • You may also see an occupational therapist, physiotherapist, prosthetist, clinical nurse consultant or social worker if they are needed.
  • We will speak to you about your child’s medical history and development, their education, their personal care, and evaluate their movements and mobility.
  • We will discuss what goals and interventions might be appropriate for your child.
  • We may recommend some further assessments or tests, such as x-rays.
  • After the appointment, you will receive the clinic report which you can share with the professionals caring for your child.

Please feel free to contact our team on 9845 0833 or email Kids Rehab, if there is anything else you would like to know before your appointment.