Inpatient rehabilitation unit

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Mayo's Pediatric Rehabilitation Inpatient Unit provides coordinated, child- and family-focused, inpatient rehabilitation care to children and teenagers from birth through high school years who suffer a severe injury or illness resulting in disability.

Our inpatient program provides a vital link in the continuum of recovery care for children and teens. The program's goal is to help children and teens optimize recovery, maximize quality of life and live as independently as possible within their families, schools and communities.


We are accredited as a Pediatric Specialty Program by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) International. This means that Mayo Clinic Pediatric Rehabilitation applies CARF International's comprehensive set of standards for quality to our practice, and we're committed to continuous quality improvement.

Facilities and equipment

Mayo's Pediatric Rehabilitation Inpatient Unit is based in Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Marys campus in Rochester, Minnesota. The rehabilitation unit is adjacent to the Pediatric ICU and general pediatric care floors.

Dedicated pediatric single rooms offer a sleeping option when a parent chooses to room with their child. Pediatric gyms offer toys and equipment appropriate for all ages and sizes to facilitate recovery and functional improvement.

State-of-the-art equipment that helps with walking includes:

  • The Lokomat with pediatric attachments
  • Body-weight supported treadmills
  • Zero-G
  • Other gait trainers

Functional electrical stimulation can be provided using an upper or lower extremity bike for those with severe muscle weakness. The Armeo is a robotic trainer used for upper extremity retraining.

Admission as an inpatient

Pediatric patients enter the Pediatric Rehabilitation Inpatient Unit in one of these ways:

  • Following referral to Pediatric Rehabilitation by a pediatric or surgical service at Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital
  • As a direct admission from a separate institution after evaluation by a Mayo Clinic admissions coordinator

Before admission to our Pediatric Rehabilitation Inpatient Unit, experts evaluate your child's medical status and ability to participate in intensive therapy sessions. Then they discuss rehabilitation goals with you and your child. The focus is to improve function, so your child must be medically stable and able to do about three hours of therapy a day.

Treatment team

Mayo's pediatric rehabilitation team includes — first and foremost — your child and family. Based on your child's needs, experts may include a pediatric physiatrist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, recreational therapist, rehabilitation nurse, neuropsychologist, social worker, dietitian, orthotist, prosthetist, respiratory therapist, music therapist and child life specialist.

We work directly with many other specialists, when needed, such as neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, pediatricians, oncologists, neurologists and many others to provide seamless, coordinated care.

Specialty consultations, diagnostic tests and emergency services all occur in a timely, seamless manner, as all pediatric hospital services occur at Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital.

Plan of care

A goal-directed therapeutic plan of care is established for your child, based on individual needs, and may include any of these elements.

  • Medical issues, self-care skills, mobility, bowel and bladder function, swallowing, speech and language skills, cognitive skills, and sensorimotor and perceptual skills are addressed based on age, developmental stage, cultural background and psychosocial considerations.
  • Additional services such as assistive technology, environmental modification, peer visitation or pet therapy may be provided.
  • At any time during your child's stay, consultation with any of Mayo Clinic's pediatric medical and surgical specialists may be arranged as needed.
  • Team members regularly monitor progress, update plans of care and communicate with each other as well as with your child and family.

Most common diagnoses

We care for children and teenagers with many different diagnoses, but we most often see brain and spinal cord injury due to trauma, cancer or illness.

We developed special protocols for children with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy who, when other treatments haven't helped, undergo selective dorsal rhizotomy — a procedure in which surgeons cut the sensory nerves serving the spastic muscles to relax the muscles and improve function.

A constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) program is available to treat both inpatients and outpatients for single side arm and hand weakness (hemiplegia).

Planning for successive levels of care

Planning for care along the continuum of recovery from illness or injury begins at the first contact with our program. As part your child's care, our experts:

  • Continuously update the plan through regular interaction among program team members, your child, your family and educational specialists
  • Emphasize the educational needs of your child
  • Provide you and your child with recommendations — before dismissal from the inpatient setting — on next steps, which may include outpatient therapies, home exercise programs and/or follow-up consultations with therapists and physicians


Mayo Clinic Pediatric Rehabilitation is known for outstanding expert care of children and teens, as shown by outcomes data:

  • The average length of stay for our pediatric patients is about 18 days, though this can range anywhere from a week to a couple of months, depending on the needs of your child. This is significantly shorter than the national average of almost 25 days.
  • The functional improvement our patients experience exceeds national norms. This means that, on average, our patients get better faster than at other similar facilities.
  • After treatment in our inpatient unit, all of our patients are discharged to return home (compared to the national average of 90 percent), though some choose to stay at the nearby Ronald McDonald house for ongoing outpatient therapy before going to their home communities.

All of our patient/family satisfaction surveys indicate that they would recommend Mayo Clinic Pediatric Rehabilitation to a friend or family member with a similar problem.