Where do families come from?
Hospitals throughout the Midwest refer adolescents and children to Madonna. Last year, 91% of those admitted traveled from outside Lincoln because of the unique setting and expertise in rehabilitation we provide.

How much therapy will my child have?
Last year, the adolescents and children we served had an average of 3.0 hours of physical, occupational, speech, psychology, and/or recreational therapy per day delivered by a licensed therapist. As appropriate, your child may also receive respiratory, nutrition therapy and educational services.

How often will my child see a physician?
Your child will be seen regularly by Dr. Kafka, a physiatrist who specializes in rehabilitation, by pediatric hospitalists Dr. Holst or Dr. Biven, and as needed by physicians with other medical specialties.

My child has other medical problems. What happens if he/she gets sick or has a medical emergency?

  • The doctors and nursing staff will monitor your child’s medical condition. Madonna has on-site laboratory and radiology services. Most tests are available should you need them, with results in less than 24 hours.

  • Madonna is a hospital with clinical staff on-site 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, with Advanced Life Support certification, and has the equipment and processes in place to respond to medical emergencies.

  • Last year, 11% of the adolescents and children served returned to the acute care hospital, many of them for brief planned procedures. Most were able to return to MRH, complete their rehabilitation program and return home.

How will Madonna help my child with school?
Last year, 114 adolescents and children spent time in the Therapeutic Learning Center (TLC), an on-site, two-room school. A certified teacher works with your child on school assignments and with their teachers at school in their home town to ensure a smooth transition home. In a survey of adolescents and children 6-12 months after discharge, 100% reported being able to return to school in their home communities.

How long will my child be at the Alexis Verzal Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital?
The average stay for adolescents and children is 40 days. This varies a great deal depending upon a child’s condition, progress and other family related factors.

What do other people say about their experience at Madonna?
We are proud to report that 94% rated their experience as “Excellent” or “Good.” 100% agreed they would definitely recommend Madonna to their family or friends.

Is Madonna accredited?
Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital is accredited by CARF, an international non-profit organization specializing in the review and accreditation of rehabilitation hospitals, as a specialized Pediatric Specialty Program. We also are accredited for Stroke, Brain Injury and Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Programs.

How will we be involved?
Research shows that family involvement in rehabilitation yields better outcomes for individuals who have sustained catastrophic injuries and illnesses. The family/support system is the constant in a child's life, while the service systems and staff within those systems change. Therefore, the most important thing we need from you is to be present and involved in your child’s program. More specifically, the team will want you to:

  • You and your child are the most important people on the rehabilitation team. Family members are encouraged to stay in your child’s room and participate in treatment planning, goal setting, family meetings and education sessions.

  • Let us know about your child's normal schedule. The closer we can get to his/her normal schedule, the easier it will be for them to participate.

  • Let us know about your child's likes and dislikes. Making therapy fun and enjoyable is an important goal.

  • Be available to observe therapy and be willing to learn new techniques so you can reinforce these with your child outside therapy. Any new skill, such as riding a bicycle, takes a lot of repetition and practice. Your reinforcement of new skills helps speed recovery.

  • Let us know when you have concerns so we can take steps to explain the reasoning behind what we are doing, or to make adjustments if necessary.

  • Help us with decision making. Our team will provide the rehabilitation training and education, but we need you to provide us with information on your child's unique personality, strengths, and challenges. By working together we can get the best results for your child's recovery.

  • Help us involve your child. We are strangers and so they may feel shy about telling us things we need to hear. Your encouragement means a lot.

  • Be a cheerleader! You will see your child make changes. While the staff certainly will point out those improvements and accomplishments, what you do to encourage and celebrate, no matter how small the accomplishment, will mean even more to them.

What is a typical day like?
The care a patient receives at Madonna is very individualized, following an interdisciplinary care plan. However, as a CARF accredited Pediatric Family Centered Program, care is taken to recognize the developmental needs of each child or adolescent as well as the strengths and needs of each family unit and incorporate those into each person's rehabilitation program.

Children 0-5 years old
It is important to maintain as normal a routine as possible while the child is at Madonna, particularly feeding and napping schedules as well as play time. In addition to the skilled medical care and rehabilitation provided intermittently throughout the day, a small child's schedule will also include the following activities, as appropriate:

  • Nap time is built into the schedule. A sign is posted on the patient's door so staff and visitors know not to disturb unless there is something urgent that absolutely cannot wait.

  • Play time with parents and siblings is a normal, important part of human development, so toys and a mat for the floor is provided so families can take time to play together safely.

  • Social Interaction with other children is also important. This may be done by scheduled time in the Therapeutic Learning Center for kids 3 years or older, or by taking a trip to the Madonna Child Development Center.

Wheelchair Basketball

Children & Adolescents 6-18 years old:
There are other developmental milestones and age-appropriate activities that should be integrated into an older child or adolescent's rehabilitation program. School is a huge part of a child/adolescent's day. Therefore, at Madonna, our patients are scheduled for time in the Therapeutic Learning Center (TLC) as soon as possible. This might begin with a brief 30 minute session in the TLC with individualized attention by an occupational or speech therapist, and eventually become 2-3 hours instruction in a group setting, taught by a certified teacher. Time in the TLC provides opportunities not just to work on academics, but also for peer interaction, social skills, communication, adjustment, and classroom mobility.

Socialization is also a huge part of growing up. Madonna provides opportunities for peer interaction outside the classroom by encouraging involvement with the Adaptive Sports & Recreation Program, by sharing meals in the small dining area, or by integrating some therapy time in the gym together. As adolescents develop physically, they also form their own self-image. Unfortunately, some of this is may be based upon what we look like. At Madonna, our patients are encouraged to get up, dress in their normal "street clothes" and get out of their room to participate in therapies. This is particularly important for adolescents, who already have a great deal of peer pressure without the added stress of walking with a limp, using a wheelchair, or talking funny. Patients are taught how to interact and respond to these questions while in the protective environment at Madonna and are then gradually introduced to the community, school, and their peers. One particular young man even practiced dancing with his therapist in preparation for going to the school prom.

Chores are a normal part of many child/adolescent's daily routine. Whether this includes pet care, laundry or washing dishes, Madonna therapists integrate these activities into each patient’s daily schedule as appropriate, using special areas such as Independence Square, a simulated community, and the teaching kitchen.

Why should I travel all the way to Lincoln, Nebraska, for rehabilitation for my child?
We know the decision to leave your hometown and travel to Lincoln, Neb., for pediatric rehabilitation services is difficult. It is vital to provide your child with an acute inpatient rehabilitation stay to provide the intensity needed to maximize recovery. It is important to choose a program that is accredited as a Pediatric Specialty Program as well as accreditations in specific diagnoses. The rehabilitation program should provide a wide-range of services to meet the needs of the child/adolescent and family, as well as helping ease the adjustment to school and other community organizations. Families who have chosen to make the trip to Madonna for our Adolescent and Children's Rehabilitation Program say the trip to Madonna was worth it.

Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital
5401 South St.
Lincoln, NE 68506
Phone: (402) 413-3000
Toll-Free: (800) 676-5448