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Information last updated 17 November 2022
The Women's and Children's Hospital is located on the traditional lands for the Kaurna people, and we respect their spiritual relationship with their Country. We also acknowledge that the Kaurna people are the custodians of the Adelaide region, and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Kaurna people today.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.

The rehabilitation team comprises staff from many different backgrounds who may work with your child when they are participating in rehabilitation while in the Women's and Children's Hospital.

Below is a description of the types of staff who may work with your child when they are participating in rehabilitation whilst in the hospital.

For further information regarding the role of each profession, please refer to Inpatient services and / or follow the links listed to the individual department home pages.

Paediatric rehabilitation physicians

Paediatric Rehabilitation Physicians provide medical support to the child, and work collaboratively with other team members to optimize health outcomes. These doctors are trained in specialized patient management techniques such as the use of Botulinum Toxin, Intrathecal Baclofen and the use of other pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic means of managing muscle tone. They have a close working relationship with other specialist medical teams within the hospital including neurosurgery, orthopaedics and urology.

Paediatric Rehabilitation Physicians have a strong community/ outreach focus with regular clinics in both metropolitan and country SA and NT.

Further medical input comes from a Paediatric Rehabilitation Fellow, and Paediatric Registrar working in the unit.

Nurse consultant (NC)

This is a Registered Nurse responsible for the effective development, co-ordination and evaluation of the individual patient's admission, rehabilitation and discharge planning within the interdisciplinary team.

This specialized nurse works closely with the patients and their families, to provide them with specific education and support. Family-team meetings are held regularly to ensure that there is clear communication and to help the family gradually prepare for home.

The NC also acts as a resource person to assist ward staff in planning specific nursing care for the child/adolescent.

As discharge is being planned, the NC will help the family organize different referrals to community services and outpatient appointments. Liaison with the child/adolescent’s school may also be required to facilitate a smooth transition.

The NC works in partnership with other health professionals and families, to achieve quality care for rehabilitation of inpatients.

Coordinator, paediatric rehabilitation

This is an Allied Health Professional responsible for the effective development, coordination and evaluation of the individual's Ambulatory Rehabilitation Program.

The Coordinator works closely with the child/adolescent and their family, assisting them to access the program and provide support for planned discharge beyond the Rehabilitation Program.

The Coordinator can assist with referral for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and to community services and outpatient appointments. Liaison with the child/adolescent's school may also be required to facilitate smooth transition.

The Coordinator works in partnership with other health professionals and families, to achieve quality care for Rehabilitation of children in the Ambulatory Rehabilitation Program.

Occupational therapists (OT)

Can assist with helping your child participate in daily activities. An Occupational Therapist may assess or treat the following areas that may impact on your child being able to do everyday activities:

  • Self care abilities such as self feeding, showering/bathing and dressing.
  • Arm and hand function in activities. The OT can help with splinting and casting, exercises, promoting movement/function needed for activities, and fine motor skills.
  • Play skills at an age appropriate level.
  • Home and/or school assessments to look at access, safety and potential modifications or equipment needed.
  • Post traumatic amnesia (PTA) testing. This is completed on children following emerging from a coma/loss of consciousness to assess their short term memory capacity.

Visit our Occupational Therapy pages on this site.

  • Assess and treat problems related to posture and movement.
  • Re-train balance (also called postural control) in sitting and standing needed to carry out everyday tasks such as reaching for objects, changing directions when walking or picking objects up from the floor.
  • Re-train mobility which includes:
    • Moving between positions (also known as transfers), for example moving from lying to sitting, sitting to standing and getting on an off the floor.
    • Using a wheelchair if walking is not possible or difficult for long distances.
    • Walking, sometimes with the need for walking aids or orthoses/splints to improve the quality of walking.
    • Working on fitness in the areas of strength, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness.
    • Practising sporting skills and activities, such as running, jumping, ball skills, bike riding and swimming.
  • Prevent muscle tightness, chest infections and general deconditioning
Speech pathologists

Assess and provide therapy for difficulties relating to communication, oral feeding skills and swallowing.

Communication includes:

  • Speech – the way the lips and tongue move to produce spoken words
  • Language – the use of words or symbols to communicate meaning. Speech Pathologists assess spoken and written language (expression) as well as a person’s ability to understand spoken and written language (comprehension).

A Speech Pathologist is initially involved to assess a child’s eating and drinking skills and ability to swallow safely. Management of swallowing difficulties may include modifying food texture or fluid thickness, altering position during mealtimes and education about safe swallow strategies. The Speech Pathologist works closely with the dietitian to transition a child from non-oral (ie nasogastric or gastrostomy tube feeding) to oral feeding.

Assessment of a child's communication skills generally begins informally through games and favourite activities, and then later utilizes formal tests of expressive and receptive language.

For general information about Speech Pathology, communication and feeding, please see the Speech Pathology Australia website.

Clinical psychologist

The Clinical Psychologist provides psychological support to patients and families during the child's rehabilitation program. The Clinical Psychologist can evaluate and provide intervention for cognitive, behavioural and/or emotional issues which may arise from a child's injury, illness or medical condition. The Clinical Psychologist also provides support for the emotional well-being of the child's parents, siblings and other family members.

The Clinical Psychologist can provide support to:

  • Facilitate the child's engagement in their rehabilitation program.
  • Support the child and/or their family members (including siblings) to process and cope with the circumstances that lead to their injury, illness or medical condition, their experiences in hospital and any changes in the child that have resulted from it.
  • Assist a child who is experiencing difficulties with their mood.
  • Assist the family and hospital staff to manage any difficult behaviour which may emerge during a child's recovery.
  • Provide information and strategies about a child’s cognitive functioning to facilitate their rehabilitation program and their return to school, including conducting a neuropsychological assessment where appropriate.
  • Support the child and/or family to access appropriate psychology support in the community following their discharge from the program.
Social worker

Social Workers offer consultation, assessment and therapeutic intervention focusing on the psychosocial impact of their injury, illness or medical condition. The Social Worker can work with the child, young person, their parents, siblings and other family members:

  • Helping to cope with the impact of trauma, loss and grief on both patient and family and/or resolve other issues and concerns through counselling, education and advice.
  • To help them adjust to the changes, social, emotional, behavioral and practical in their life resulting from their child’s diagnosis and educating families about the impact an accident, illness or medical condition will have on various aspect of the child's or the family's life.
  • Behaviour management in a family context.
  • Information and advice regarding financial benefits, accommodation, legal issues.
  • Providing information about and/or referrals to community agencies and resources.
  • Advocacy on behalf of patients, or the family, as necessary.

Please refer to the Orthotics WCH website page: Orthotics

Rehabilitation assistant

The rehabilitation assistant is responsible for supporting staff and families in assisting patients to achieve their best possible outcomes and goals.

Movement disorders coordinator

The Movement Disorders Coordinator is responsible for leading a project for the development of high quality rehabilitation services to children with movement disorders, due to conditions such as cerebral palsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury and other disorders. This includes the coordination of services for families with children with intrathecal baclofen pumps, including education of school staff and carers. The coordinator also develops and maintains surveillance programs, including hip and gait surveillance. Services may be provided to inpatients, outpatients and at outreach locations.


The Rehab department incorporates a Dietitian available to inpatients. Patients undergoing rehabilitation often find it hard to meet their nutritional needs for a number of reasons including difficulty with eating, loss of appetite, side effects of some treatments and more. A Dietitian can help patients meet their nutritional needs in a number of ways including providing high calorie meals, nutritional supplement drinks, modified texture foods (eg. vitamised foods) and more.

If a patient would benefit from seeing a Dietitian while in hospital a referral from a Doctor is required.

The Nutrition Department also has information on this site.