Pediatric and Young Adult Rehabilitation Medicine

Program Lead: Dr. Lee Burkholder

The program provides inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation medicine services at the Alberta Children’s Hospital (ACH) to pediatric populations, including children with neurological disorders such as brain injury, cerebral palsy, myelomeningocele/spinal cord injury, neuromuscular conditions, and other neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as musculoskeletal disorders such as limb deficiency and arthrogryposis.  

The program is also responsible for the Young Adult Rehabilitation Clinics, outpatient clinics located at the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre and Foothills Medical Centre, which are dedicated to adult patients with child-onset neurological and musculoskeletal conditions. These clinics provide comprehensive rehabilitation medicine management and assist patients transitioning from pediatric care to the adult world.

Clinical Care Updates

The Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine inpatient consultation service treated 54 children, many within the context of the ACH interdisciplinary neuro-rehabilitation team, while admitted to hospital.  An additional 21 patients were followed during admission to the ACH Dr. Gordon Townsend School (GTS) Rehabilitation and Education Program.  The program also provided 1,024 pediatric outpatient consultation and followup appointments through various ACH rehabilitation clinics.  A further 336 outpatient appointments were attended by adult patients through the Young Adult Rehabilitation Clinic.  The program continued as a primary contributor to the interdisciplinary ACH Spasticity Assessment Program (SAP), which provides comprehensive assessment and management recommendations to children with complex hypertonicity issues. The SAP assessed three children for possible neurosurgical tone management with intrathecal baclofen via pump implant or selective dorsal rhizotomy.  Gait analysis, collaborative with Orthopedic Surgery, Physiotherapy and Orthotics, continued through the C.H. Riddell Movement Assessment Centre at the ACH with 44 patients undergoing evaluation.  

Education

Educational pursuits were related to post-graduate medical education as well as research training for a clinical fellow and an undergraduate student.  The program had four medical post-graduate trainees, including PM&R and pediatric neurology residents, on service for eight of 13 academic blocks. 

Dr. Gnanakumar is a member of the PM&R Residency Training Committee and is the physician lead for PM&R medical student clinical electives. She gave a lecture on the integrated assessment and treatment of children with somatoform disorders at the scientific meeting of the Canadian Association of PM&R. 

Dr. Burkholder is a member of the Pediatric Neurology Residency Training Committee.

Dr. Condliffe provided research mentorship and academic supervision for the PM&R spasticity clinical fellow and one undergraduate student participating in rehabilitation-focused research projects.

Research

Construction of Dr. Condliffe’s Pediatric Onset of Neuromotor Impairment laboratory (PONI-lab) was completed at the ACH in close proximity to outpatient neurosciences and musculoskeletal clinic areas and will enable sophisticated neurophysiologic and functional assessments. The research program involves the University of Calgary, the University of Alberta and the University of Copenhagen. 

Dr. Gnanakumar is the Calgary site lead for a clinical study focused on optimizing the management of pain and irritability in children with severe neurological impairments. Dr. Burkholder is a Calgary site co-lead for the Canadian Cerebral Palsy Registry. 

Members

Dr. Lee Burkholder, Dr. Elizabeth Condliffe, Dr. Vithya Gnanakumar, Dr. Janet Tapper

(Updated December 2019)