Chronic Illness

Sometimes, children find it difficult to handle a lifelong disease, especially if they feel different from their friends. They may react with defiant, impulsive or depressive behaviors, and the entire family may feel the effects of the disease as a result.


Providing Hope For Healing In New Kent

At Cumberland Hospital, we understand children whose chronic illnesses impact their emotional outlook and behaviors. Combining positive reinforcement with medical treatment, our experienced professionals help young people, ages 2 through 21, heal physically and emotionally.

We show patients and their families how to successfully integrate effective disease management strategies into their daily lives so they can begin to enjoy life again.

Care and Goals

Cumberland Hospital’s Chronic Illness Program provides a structured environment for medical supervision and treatment of underlying emotional, social and behavioral challenges. Our reality-based, functional approach teaches patients how to integrate their chronic illness into a healthy lifestyle. Learning practical life skills gives patients a sense of control in their lives, as well as a taste of independence.

Criteria for Admission:

  • A chronic illness diagnosis
  • 2 up through 21 years of age
  • Inability to function independently at an age-appropriate level in the areas of self-care, mood stability or school
  • Exhibits a specific pattern of self-destruction and behaviors inconsistent with responsible management of their chronic illness

Treatment Overview

Cumberland Hospital’s clinical, interdisciplinary treatment team is led by a pediatrician with training in adolescent medicine. The patient, family and involved professionals from the child’s home community each play an integral role on the treatment team, meeting regularly to set goals, develop treatment plans and review progress.

Our pediatrician directs each patient’s medical care, which is administered by nurses on site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Educating patients about their illness and the importance of medical self-management is a major program focus. Patients may practice managing their unique medical needs, such as monitoring blood sugar levels or skin integrity to watch for signs of breakdown.

At Cumberland Hospital, we treat the mind as well as the body, teaching young people to recognize their emotional needs as mental health issues that may complicate their illness. Intensive individual and group psychotherapy programs address each patient’s unique emotional and behavioral issues. Each patient participates in weekly chronic illness group sessions to discuss the emotional effects and adjustment problems that can accompany an ongoing illness or injury. A major focus is on developing compensatory and coping skills.

Topics include:

  • Anger management
  • Self-esteem
  • Body image
  • Assertiveness
  • Peer pressure
  • Healthy sexuality

Depending on the type of chronic illness and your child’s specific needs, Cumberland also provides:

  • 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
  • Speech and language therapy


Help and hope are closer than you think.

Specialized medical care and personalized mental health treatment is ready for you. We are here to help.