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CHKD opens Virginia's one-of-a-kind rehabilitation center

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels visited kids on the opening day of the CHKD inpatient rehabilitation center.

NORFOLK, Va. — The Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters (CHKD) unveiled the state’s only inpatient rehabilitation center Thursday, where kids can live while they receive therapy.

With $3.7 million in renovations, the year-long project brought in new technology and features. The technology is for patients who are recovering from brain injury, strokes, car accidents, and spinal injury.

During the unveiling, members of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels visited the kids. 

Dr. Rianna Leazer said that the Blue Angels are the theme of the therapy unit.

"Our unit, we wanted to find something inspirational that they could focus on since they're here for such a long road and we ended up picking the Blue Angels theme," Leazer said. "Every day when the kids wake up, they can just see this room, which is focused around that inspiration so we have the jets taking off over every bed."

The hall is painted like a runway giving children new walking goals each day. A specialized room equipped with a kitchen, washer, and dryer, is available so that kids could re-learn daily routines. 

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Another part of the unit is the gym that held lots of equipment for children to receive physical and speech therapy.

"The gym has all the equipment. We have the needs of the therapists there, their games, their tools that they use from therapies,” said Leazer.

New technology in the gym is the “ZeroG” which is a robotic body-weight support that allows patients to practice walking and going up stairs without the fear of falling. 

Speech therapist Janet Dierstein said that she worked in the gym each day with kids and that the goal is to make sure they have fun during therapy.

"Well, you have to make it fun for the kids, that's number one, that they're motivated and enjoying themselves,” said Dierstein. 

She added that each day of therapy gets kids one step closer to being home free.

"We have patients very frequently come in and are able to walk with some assistance out of here. So, it's a great feeling,” said Dierstein.

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