Inpatient Care

As a specialty hospital, our focus is on the treatment of children who have medically complex conditions associated with chronic illness or developmental disability. We partner with other prestigious health care institutions to ensure that our special needs patients receive the highest quality of care -- care that is accessible, continuous, comprehensive, family-centered, coordinated, compassionate, and culturally effective. Our commitment to the highest quality of care has been recognized by the National Committee on Quality Assurance as a Children’s Medical Home -- Chicagoland’s only pediatric hospital with this recognition.

Inpatient Care
At La Rabida, we treat children who:

  • Live with chronic illnesses like asthma, diabetes, seizure disorders, and sickle cell disease
  • Need rehabilitation after surgery, burns, brain injury, stroke, or trauma
  • Depend on technology like ventilators, NG tubes, or tracheostomies
  • Are transitioning from a neonatal intensive care unit or pediatric intensive care unit at another hospital  

For more information about inpatient services or to make an admission referral, call the Admissions Coordinator at 312-498-4408.

24/7 Physician Coverage
Our inpatient unit is staffed with board-certified pediatricians around the clock, every day of the year.

Pediatricians from University of Chicago and Children's Memorial Hospital who specialize in the treatment of medically complex conditions staff our hospitalist program. Hospitalists are specially trained to provide medical care to patients who are hospitalized. They work closely with our patients’ primary care physicians to ensure continuity between the hospital and the clinic.

Experienced Nursing
A hospital’s nurses are the patient’s and family’s most direct contact in the care of the child. We designate specific primary nurses for each patient and use only dedicated hospital-employed nurses in the care of our patients. Our nurses round with the physicians at the bedside so that the family, nurse and physician can meet to discuss the child’s care each day.

Interdisciplinary Care
Interdisciplinary care is an important element in the continuum of care at La Rabida. It permits the child’s care team of physicians, nurses, therapists, psychologists, and other professionals to efficiently develop a comprehensive plan of treatment. This results in the child receiving coordinated and comprehensive care. 

We help patients and their families maximize the child’s health status and level of functioning and minimize emergency room visits, hospitalizations and school and work absenteeism.

Coordinating a Patient’s Care
Case managers at La Rabida coordinate a patient’s care from admission through discharge. They begin by completing a comprehensive interdisciplinary assessment of child and family needs along with individualized goals. Throughout the hospitalization and after discharge, case managers communicate with the family and the child's health care team. We provide age-appropriate education, as needed, to help patients and families understand the patient’s condition. In addition to working with the interdisciplinary teams to implement a plan of treatment, case managers work with health care providers and state agencies to address a family’s special needs.

Working with Patients and Families
For inpatients, an admitting team expedites and simplifies the admission process. Patient escorts are on hand to assist families throughout the admission process to the bedside. Support groups and consultation are provided for families of children with specific chronic conditions.

La Rabida's Child Life Program helps young patients adjust to being in the hospital, no matter how extended or frequent his or her stay may be. Read more on the La Rabida experience.

Extended Hospital Stays
Occasionally, patients have a need for an extended hospital stay due to a recent catastrophic illness, injury, trauma or unexpected medical complications. Often, these children are too ill to start immediate rehabilitation and need extended hospitalization. La Rabida offers specialized care for optimal recovery to these patients with the goal of incorporating our unique rehabilitative care later.

As a specialty hospital for extended acute care, we serve patients who need hospitalization for weeks, months, and in some cases even longer. La Rabida Children's Hospital combines the specialized expertise of a large hospital with the personalized, patient-focused attention of a smaller facility. As a long-term acute care hospital, we are also the most appropriate setting for the chronically ill or seriously injured patient with special needs because we offer a range of services through coordinated and focused care teams.

Families who want to stay together during longer hospital stays can temporarily reside at the nearby Ronald McDonald House. Referrals are required for stay.

Follow-up Care
We work hard to help each patient leave the hospital and return home as soon as medically possible. But children with complex medical conditions often need ongoing comprehensive care that extends beyond the acute phase of their illness. This is particularly true for children who are technology-dependent or who need intensive rehabilitation services. For these children and their families, inpatient transitional care services are critical to maximizing health outcomes and equipping families to care for their child at home. Our case managers also set up the appointments after discharge with the primary care physician and the patient’s specialists.

Social Work Assessment, Advocacy and Intervention
Social workers assess family strengths and needs, locate community resources, coordinate referrals, advocate for patients and provide supportive counseling to patients and their families. Specially trained family advocates are also available to help the family coordinate special education referrals and attend school staffings, obtain needed services, and assist families with forming questions and getting answers from professionals.

Child Life
Child Life Specialists focus on the psychosocial and developmental needs of children, collaborating with families and other health care providers to:

  • Prepare children for medical procedures or treatment using language that children understand
  • Provide support and distraction during medical procedures
  • Introduce coping strategies to help reduce anxiety
  • Offer opportunities for play and expressive activities to encourage normal development and a sense of normalcy in spite of challenging circumstances
  • Promote family centered care by providing advocacy and support to families of pediatric patients
  • Provide educational services to school-age patients in order to help patients keep up with their schoolwork throughout their hospitalization

Click here to read about one Child Life Specialist’s unique role.
Click here to view the Child Life Newsletters

Nurse Staffing
The Hospital Report Card Act requires hospitals to share certain information about nurse staffing and assignment with consumers upon request. For details on making such a request, click here.