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 assessed and treated 59 children, many within the context of the ACH interdisciplinary neuro-rehabilitation team, while admitted to hospital. An additional 12 patients were followed during admission to the ACH Dr. Gordon Townsend School (GTS) Rehabilitation and Education Program for management of medical and rehabilitation issues. The program also provided 837 pediatric outpatient consultation and followup appointments through various ACH rehabilitation clinics. A further 297 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 six 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, for recommendation of therapeutic interventions continued through the C.H. Riddell Movement Assessment Centre at the ACH with 37 patients undergoing evaluation. 

Education

Program educational pursuits were related to post-graduate medical education as well as research training for undergraduate and graduate students participating in program-led projects. The program had five medical post-graduate trainees, including PM&R and Developmental Pediatric residents, on service for 12 of 13 academic blocks. Dr. Condliffe provided mentorship and academic supervision for one MSc (Kinesiology) graduate student as well as four undergraduate students participating in rehabilitation-focused research projects.

Dr. Gnanakumar is a member of the PM&R Residency Training Committee and is the physician lead for PM&R medical student clinical electives. 
Dr. Burkholder is a member of the Pediatric Neurology Residency Training Committee.

Research

Research endeavours comprised of site leadership for numerous multicentre research studies, including two that are CIHR-funded, as well as planning for a purpose-built, on-site research laboratory to support Dr. Condliffe’s research program, which is scheduled to open in spring 2019. Dr. Condliffe is a co-investigator, Calgary site lead for three current studies—one examining fatigue in children with cerebral palsy and the remaining studying early intensive exercise for children suffering perinatal stroke and encephalopathy of prematurity.

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 Dec. 2018)