Small Wins, Big Victories


Rehabilitation a critical part of children’s recovery.

Key to pediatric patients’ recovery and potential independence from the ventilator at Rockcastle Regional’s Respiratory Care Center are rehabilitation services, which work to meet mobility, sensory, feeding, and communications needs.

Physical, occupational, and speech therapists engage the patient in a range of activities such as strength,      endurance, and sensory training. Meanwhile, speech therapists may work with patients on feeding and speaking valve use.

Those services may be administered at bedside for some children; others are able to utilize rehabilitation facilities, where they are immersed in activity that helps develop them medically while providing an energizing physical outlet.

A good day at the rehab center is all about milestones.

“When you see one of these kids reach a milestone,” said Emily Valentine, PT, DPT, director of inpatient rehabilitation services. “I think it's the next best thing to seeing your own child reach a milestone. It may be a little victory or a small win, but for these babies that have been through so much, the small wins are huge.”

The opportunity for success in rehabilitation rests upon a foundation built by the larger, multi-disciplinary care team.

“We’re giving them that active outlet,” Valentine said. But for that to happen, we have respiratory therapy support, for example, to manage the ventilators and the oxygen. We have nursing support to make sure they've had their medications and all their treatments done so that they're ready to engage in rehab.”

The team’s goal is always to reach the ultimate milestone – helping the patient achieve independence from the ventilator. 

“Most of these kids haven't known anything but a hospital,” Valentine said. “To think they can go to a park and a zoo, they can go to family events, have real birthday parties, and just have a shot at a real life is exciting and incredibly gratifying.”