Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego announces plans to partner with New Jersey’s Children’s Specialized Hospital, part of RWJBarnabas Health and a leading pediatric provider for children facing health care challenges including chronic pain and illness. The partnership will expand Children’s Specialized Hospital’s East Coast-based Chronic Pain Management Program to pediatric and adolescent patients in San Diego, Southern California and the southwestern United States through the all-new Children’s Specialized Hospital Chronic Pain Management Program at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. Emphasizing pain management through a whole-person, multidisciplinary approach, this initiative will be the first inpatient children’s chronic pain program in Southern California, and will align and amplify each institution’s expertise while better serving the needs of area children and adolescents.
“Our organization is dedicated to providing a full continuum of care for our patients,” said Patrick Frias, M.D., president and chief executive officer at Rady Children’s. “We are excited and honored to partner with RWJBarnabas Health and Children’s Specialized Hospital to bring this proven care model to children throughout our region who are working to reduce chronic pain through an opioid-free program and improve their quality of life.”
Since its inception, Children’s Specialized Hospital has been at the forefront of chronic pain management, reporting significant, positive outcomes in pain reduction and quality of life improvement. The Rady Children’s partnership is an important milestone in expanding its services to treat more patients.
“We are thrilled to partner with Rady Children’s Hospital in an effort to expand the reach of our Chronic Pain Management Program. This joint endeavor provides us the great opportunity to treat the unique needs of patients and families in the Southern California region, and for that I could not be more grateful. This expansion is a testament to the outcomes Children’s Specialized Hospital has achieved and a direct result of our approach to providing the highest quality of health care to every patient and their family,” said Warren E. Moore, F.A.C.H.E., president and chief executive officer of Children’s Specialized Hospital.
At a time when the widespread use of opioids has gripped the nation, the program will follow the Children’s Specialized Hospital model of opioid- and pain medication-free chronic pain management. The approximately 28-day program will integrate physiatry and psychology, as well as physical and occupational therapy. Treatments will include traditional, clinical methods as well as options such as swimming; music, art and storytelling through the Rady Children’s Healing Arts Program; and yoga, massage, acupuncture and Healing Touch through the Rady Children’s Integrative Medicine Program, based on each patient’s case. This approach will also contribute to a major goal of Rady Children’s — reducing overall Hospital opioid use while maintaining effective pain control. Over a two-year period, an institution-wide quality improvement initiative significantly reduced the number of ambulatory pediatric opioid prescriptions by 36 percent and ambulatory doses prescribed by 59 percent.
“Particularly with such a young patient demographic, eliminating opioid prescriptions in pain management is critical in reducing overuse and abuse on a national level, and in providing patients with customized pain coping strategies to regain function and support long-term management and self-sufficiency,” said Anke Reineke, Ph.D., director of the Rady Children’s program.
Patients may also work with specialists in areas including neurology, behavioral health, rheumatology, orthopedics and gastroenterology. Providers will collaborate on comprehensive, individualized care plans designed to help patients improve daily function, reduce pain, enhance self-awareness and learn alternative coping techniques. Ultimately, the goal of the program is to arm patients with tools that support overall wellness and mitigate flare-ups or relapse. Within the existing Children’s Specialized Hospital program, data indicates success in that area. In a 2016 – 2017 patient survey, participants reported knowledge of their condition improved by 81 percent, quality of life improved by 41 percent, exercise abilities improved by 110 percent, compliance with care improved by 89 percent and depression improved by 57 percent. A Children’s Specialized Hospital outcomes report also indicates that from admission to discharge, surveyed patients’ average pain level dropped from 6.6 to 3.9 on a 10-point scale. In addition, 10.8 percent of patients reported no school absences due to pain upon admission, while 83.3 percent reported no pain-related absences during a three-month follow-up.
The program, which launched in March, is equipped with a team of specialized practitioners capable of serving approximately six patients during their four-week stay. Due to the highly targeted, individual treatment model, patient populations will be kept small — as is the case with the existing Children’s Specialized Hospital program — but will continue to scale over time.
“We are excited to expand our Chronic Pain Management Program to serve families in need, and partner with Rady Children’s to address the needs of patients with chronic pain syndromes,” said Katherine Bentley, M.D., physiatrist and director of the Chronic Pain Management Program at Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick. “Very often, our patients and their families go to great lengths to come to New Jersey for chronic pain treatment. With this partnership, our evidence-based chronic pain management program, led in San Diego at Rady Children’s Hospital, will provide invaluable support to treating these rare and debilitating illnesses.”
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