Treating the Body
Most patients at Cumberland have serious medical conditions that have reached a critical stage largely due to their medical non-compliance. A pediatrician directs their medical care, which is administered by nurses on-site 24 hours a day.
Medical Management: A major program focus is teaching patients more about their illness and the importance of medical self-management. They practice managing their unique medical needs, such as monitoring their blood sugar levels or their skin integrity to watch for signs of breakdown.
With varying levels of supervision, they are responsible for making appropriate decisions concerning diet, exercise and self-medication. Some patients must take critical medications at appropriate intervals to prevent organ rejection or know how to perform peritoneal dialysis. If appropriate, patients may be involved in medication trials. Patients with neurological involvement may benefit from bowel and bladder training.
Patients with diabetes may benefit from Cumberland’s unique “flexible regimen” plan, which allows patients the freedom to choose the amount of carbohydrates, protein and fat they want, and then take insulin based on their food intake. This plan helps to give patients control over their lives, while helping them understand body chemistry and ways in which food and exercise impact their bodies. Patients must demonstrate maturity, independence and responsibility to be eligible for this program component.
Depending on the type of chronic illness and the child’s specific needs, the following services may be included in treatment: individual and group nutritional instruction, activity therapy sessions to learn positive leisure choices, exercise groups, Eating Attitudes Training (EAT group) focusing on eating patterns and self-care cooking skills, individual and group diabetes instruction, cognitive retraining, physical or occupational therapy and speech/language therapy.