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Who We Are & What We Do: Inpatient Chronic Illness Management

Inpatient Chronic Illness Management

The Chronic Illness Management Program at Children’s Specialized Hospital is a comprehensive inpatient program for adolescents ages 13-21, who struggle to manage their condition. It provides the teen and family with a structured, comprehensive treatment plan to address medical, nutritional, psychological, and family communication issues. Since parents and caregivers have a crucial role in supporting their child’s health, we encourage parent/caregiver participation in medical education, nutritional and psychological counseling sessions to ensure the greatest success.

Children with chronic, life limiting, or life altering diseases may receive Pediatric Palliative Care. With input from the child and family, priorities and goals are set based on intellectual, spiritual, and pyschosocial needs, while medical needs are also being met.

The Chronic Illness Management Program is typically a four week program that follows a transdisciplinary model and behavioral approach to care, that addresses the physical, emotional, and psycho-social needs of each patient. The goal for each adolescent is always to improve self-management of the disease.

The behavioral approach includes:

  • Shaping of appropriate behavior
  • ​Reinforcement of positive behaviors
  • Direct instruction to develop new skills/knowledge
  • Fading of cues and prompts
  • Generalization of skills across activities and settings
  • Use of visual tools
  • Medication education
  • Structured nutritional counseling
  • Supportive psychological counseling

The treatment environment includes:

  • Intensive and varied daily exercise
  • Shopping/cooking experiences to promote good nutrition
  • Multiple daily therapies/activities
  • Outings to promote community integration
  • Family education and counseling
  • Psychological testing, as indicated, to identify learning issues

At the conclusion of an inpatient stay, our expectation is that each patient is significantly more independent at managing his or her medical condition. A principal goal of the program is to ensure a healthy transition back into the community. This means we help patients work with their outpatient medical treatment team, school, and community-based agencies to ensure success once they return home.

The Chronic Illness Management Program is especially for adolescents with conditions such as:
  • Diabetes
  • Post-organ transplant
  • Chronic respiratory disease
  • Other chronic medical illnesses considered on an individual basis