Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Inpatient Program

Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Inpatient Program

Children with heart defects can face learning differences, developmental delays and/or attention differences. Our Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Inpatient Program works with you to support your baby’s development during their inpatient journey.

Holding your baby, feeding your baby and playing with your baby will be different after heart surgery. Though this sounds daunting, our team will be there to help you navigate it all. We were one of the first hospitals to create a process that brings neurodevelopmental specialists to your child’s bedside. This way, you can meet with your child’s specialists to discuss developmental goals and strategies for your child.

No matter how long you’re here, our support team will make sure you have everything you need to care for your child and get them off to a strong start.

More resources to help your baby’s development

  • Child Life specialists. Child life specialists help children (and their parents and siblings) cope with being at the hospital. They also help prepare them emotionally for procedures and surgery.
  • Occupational Therapy. Occupational therapists work to improve your child’s ability to participate in routine activities. These include caring for themselves, playing, resting or attending school.
  • Massage therapists. After your child’s procedure they might need to spend a lot of time in their crib or bed. Our massage therapists come frequently to your child’s bedside and offer massages. They can also teach you some massage techniques that you can use on your child when you go home.
  • Music therapists. We know that being in a hospital for an extended time isn’t ideal, but our trained music therapists help children and their families cope. We were one of the first hospitals to offer music therapy in the 1990s and we now have the largest musical therapy program in the region.
  • Physical Therapy. Physical therapy can maintain or restore movement, improve range of motion, help ease pain, and help prevent injuries. Sometimes, physical therapy can replace surgery or medication in treating a problem.
  • Speech Language Pathology. Your child’s congenital (present at birth) heart condition could affect nerves or muscles that can cause problems with how their brain and body control speech or swallowing actions. A speech and language pathologist provides therapy to help your child overcome these problems.

Strengthening the parent-baby bond

Some of the goals we have helped families with include:

  • Holding your baby with medical devices
  • Stroller rides around the units
  • Using wraps/carriers during your stay
  • Breastfeeding after surgery
  • Skin-to-skin care
  • Games, toys and activities that will help your child develop in the hospital and at home

Using research to improve care

Not only did U.S. News & World Report rank us as a top children’s hospital for cardiology and heart surgery, but we’re also proud to be part of the international Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative (CNOC) and National Pediatric Cardiac Quality Improvement Collaborative (NPC-QIC). We work together with hospitals from all over the world on neurodevelopmental research. This helps us find ways to improve how these children develop, so they can live happier, more fulfilling lives.

Meet the Care Team

  • Randi Cheatham-Johnson, PhD Pediatric Psychologist - Cardiology
  • Anna Jones, APRN, PNP-AC/PC Nurse Practitioner - Cardiac Critical Care
  • Betsy Beall, MS, CCLS
    Betsy Beall, MS, CCLS Child Life Specialist
  • Bailey Bedichek, CCLS
    Bailey Bedichek, CCLS Child Life Specialist
  • Katie Cameron, MS, CCLS
    Katie Cameron, MS, CCLS Child Life Specialist
  • Jennifer Goodman, BS, CCLS
    Jennifer Goodman, BS, CCLS Child Life Specialist
  • Teresa Hargrove, MS, MT-BC
    Teresa Hargrove, MS, MT-BC Music Therapist
  • Brittney Harris, MA, CCC-SLP
    Brittney Harris, MA, CCC-SLP Speech Language Pathologist
  • Rachel Gan, MT-BC
    Rachel Gan, MT-BC Music Therapist
  • Stephanie Mikus, MA, MT-BC
    Stephanie Mikus, MA, MT-BC Music Therapist
  • Stefanie Rogers, MOT, OTR
    Stefanie Rogers, MOT, OTR Occupational Therapist
  • Madeleine Solari, MA, CCC-SLP
    Madeleine Solari, MA, CCC-SLP Speech Language Pathologist
  • Elizabeth Tong, PT, DPT, PCS, CLT
    Elizabeth Tong, PT, DPT, PCS, CLT Physical Therapist