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Crews are putting the finishing touches on Pediatric Rehabilitationís new facility at Vanderbilt Health at One Hundred Oaks, which opens Feb. 18. (photo by Neil Brake)

Pediatric Rehab Services set for One Hundred Oaks debut

BY: JESSICA ENNIS

2/15/2008 - A zip line, an eight foot climbing wall and a mock apartment complete with a bed, kitchen and bathroom are just a few of the new features available to patients when Pediatric Rehabilitation Services debuts its new facility at Vanderbilt Health at One Hundred Oaks on Monday.

The office, which will serve about 100 patients a day, or nearly 25,000 visits each year, is the first to move to Vanderbilt's new campus at One Hundred Oaks.

The service provides physical and occupational therapy to patients who have neurologic impairments, orthopedic injuries, developmental delays, congenital syndromes or other disabilities that impair physical function and health status.

“The main reason we are out here is because of accessibility,” said Erik Hamnes, director of Pediatric Rehabilitation Services. “These kids are coming in every week and sometimes it's for a year or more. They also come with a lot of equipment like wheelchairs, walkers and crutches. It's much easier to be able to park right outside the entrance of the clinic, and it is convenient to all interstates.”

Construction began last October, and is being overseen by Knestrick Contractor Inc.

The new facility contains state-of-the-art equipment and new features, and is more than double the size of the current office, located in The Vanderbilt Clinic.

“We can do so much more here,” said Hamnes. “Before, we had to do a lot of our work in the hallway because we simply didn't have enough room.”

Every available space was planned to have not only aesthetic appeal, but also an additional purpose. Since hallways were so frequently used in the old office, the new office has hallways designed to look like roads. The straight and broken “lines” in the roads can be used in rehabilitation.

Ten private treatment rooms were built to accommodate the children who require minimal distractions and to have space for confidential conversations and treatments. Some rooms allow parents to observe their child's rehabilitation through a mirrored window so as not to distract their child. Parents can also hear the treatment session via headphones.

The facility also boasts a unique “activities of daily living” suite, which is a mini-apartment that includes a murphy bed, kitchen with cabinets, refrigerator, dishwasher and kitchen table, as well as a closet and a full bathroom.

“The main purpose of this suite is to help kids be more independent,” Hamnes said.

Other specialty rooms include a sensory integration room which helps children accomplish self-regulation. These children are either over- or under-sensitive to movement, textures, sound and light.

“This room provides an environment that challenges children's sensory system in an organized purposeful way, allowing them to be able to complete their daily activities and ultimately improve function,” Hamnes said. “For example, a child carries out certain activities while on a special swing, this helps patients appropriately respond to the motion, which transfers to functional activities, like riding in a car or playing on the playground.

The named areas of the clinic were made possible by donations from Mike Curb, chairman of Curb Records.

The Katie Darnell Wheelchair Clinic honors the former brain tumor patient who was treated at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, and died in 2003.

“The reason we named the Katie Darnell Wheelchair Clinic after Katie Darnell is because she was such a tremendous inspiration. Katie discovered she was a songwriter while a patient at Children's Hospital,” Curb said. “She had an incurable form of cancer, and even in her illness, she still managed to demonstrate a courage that is almost impossible for any of us to imagine.”

The wheelchair clinic allows patients to be properly fitted for a wheelchair that will give them the most mobility possible.

“Our wheelchair clinic has such an immediate impact on the kids,” Hamnes said. “We want to get them in a wheelchair that fits them, looks cool and helps them move better.”

The wheelchair clinic also has space for a casting area. Serial casting is used in patients who have limited range of motion, and provides a slow muscle stretch.

The Kevin Michael Crawler Gym, also named by Curb, is for children up to age 2 who are not walking yet. Different mechanisms and tools are used to help patients sit up, pull up, crawl and move around.

“Recently our daughter became very ill, discovered she was diabetic, and lost a baby, so the value of a pediatric facility became more real to us,” Curb said. “We obviously wanted to name one of the rooms the Kevin Michael Crawler Gym because it coincided with the loss of our grandchild, and brought a specific focus there,” Curb said.

The Linda Curb Orthopaedic Gym, named after Curb's wife, will have exercise equipment for children ages 8 to 13, including treadmills, arm bikes and weights to rehabilitate patients with orthopaedic injuries.

Not opening on Feb. 18, but in mid-March, is the LeAnn Rimes Adventure Gym. The gym features a performance stage, a zip line over a pit of foam and an eight-foot tall rock climbing wall. Two large sets of specially designed stairs in the corner of the gym offer a place for children to work on climbing skills, but with a destination. Once they climb the stairs they will have the option of coming down a slide.

The gym also has a soccer goal and a small basketball court with an adjustable goal. The court and walls are decorated with a Vanderbilt Commodores theme.

There is an undulating wood track where patients can push themselves on their stomach on scooter boards while following the track. Also in the gym is a Nintendo Wii video game station and monkey bars.

The Courtney and Megan Sibling Play Area provides toys and a reading area for siblings to play with while their sibling receives therapy.

“The bottom line is it's all about helping children,” Curb said. “There are so many things that we want to say yes to and can't, but we did want to make sure that we completed something that started when I was chairman of the Board of Children's Hospital.”

Pediatric Rehabilitation Services’ new location is 719 Thompson Lane, Suite 21000. The phone number is 343-6445.

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