An Aquatic Physical Therapy Program at a Pediatric Rehabilitation Hospital: A Case Series

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Purpose:The purpose of this case series is to describe the implementation of an aquatic physical therapy (PT) program at a pediatric hospital and to document improvements in participants’ abilities after PT intervention.Methods:Four patients with cerebral palsy, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, or Prader-Willi syndrome participated in aquatic and land-based PT intervention. Three of the patients had orthopedic conditions which required limited weight-bearing or low-joint impact during motor activities. A wide range of outcomes were used to assess changes in participation, activity, and body function. When available, minimal detectable change and minimal important difference values were used to interpret data.Results:Clinically significant improvements were documented in functional mobility, walking endurance, range of motion, muscle strength, and/or pain reduction for all 4 patients.Conclusions:Aquatic PT used as an adjunct to land-based PT interventions may be effective in improving outcomes in patients with physical disabilities.

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