CARF Reaccredits Unique Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Program

Cites excellence at helping children manage pain effectively

The Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) has reaccredited Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation’s (CCCHR) Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Program for another three years.  The intensive interdisciplinary pain treatment program was the first CARF-accredited program of its kind in the world and is now one of only two to pass scrutiny by this prestigious organization.

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CARF accreditation conveys that our program meets the highest standards in terms of clinical care, operations and patient satisfaction,” says Gerard Banez, PhD, Director of Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation. “In addition, CARF looks for commitment to continuous improvement. “

Points of Distinction

As in 2017, the CARF review team was generous in its praise of the program’s strengths.

“The organizational leadership is forward-thinking, results-oriented and a role model for collegial interactions,” they said. “This air of shared responsibility between leadership and staff translates into excellent service and excellent clinical outcomes to the patients and families.”

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“Within the walls of Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation there is a palpable focus on the patient experience,” they added. “The program offers a comprehensive and unique pediatric interdisciplinary pain specialty program in a child-and-family-friendly setting. The environment is conducive to healing and recovery… The team is focused on ensuring that the patient and the patient’s support structures are satisfied with their care.”

Structured for Success

The average patient in the CCCHR pain rehab program is a junior high- or high school-aged student, although patients as young as eight have been treated. They are referred by their physician after experiencing little or no improvement with past outpatient services rendered appropriately.  About two-thirds of patients come from outside Ohio.

The program is uniquely structured to help young patients learn to manage their pain and equip their parents to better understand and assist them:

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  • The staff is comprised of experts in rehabilitation services, behavioral health and medical care.
  • The program encompasses two weeks of intensive inpatient treatment followed by one week of outpatient therapies specifically tailored to meet the needs of each child’s pain condition and functional impairment.
  • Patients with a broad variety of chronic pain conditions are accepted. The most common complaints are complex regional pain syndrome, migraine, chronic daily headache, fibromyalgia, abdominal pain and back pain.
  • Enrollment is limited. Three new patients are admitted at the beginning of each week, allowing the staff to attend to the individualized needs of each child.
  • One-on-one care is blended with group care. “The peer element provides an opportunity for children to meet other children with chronic pain, who can support and encourage them in ways their friends at homes cannot,” says Dr. Banez. “It’s not unusual for our patients to tell us years later that they still communicate regularly with peers they met in our program.”
  • Parents are given education and training designed to help them better understand chronic pain and interact with their child in ways that promote better coping and functioning.
  • Because the average child admitted to the program is missing more than three days of school per week, a teacher works with the children to ensure they are able to successfully re-enter the classroom.

Consistent Results

Results consistently show that levels of pain and functional impairment are significantly improved upon release from the program, and that this improvement endures.

“In follow-up surveys, the vast majority of patients have said pain no longer interferes with the activities they want to do,” Dr. Banez says. “It’s most gratifying for us when parents say, ‘Thanks for giving us our kids back and helping them be kids again.’”