Paediatric Physiotherapy

Physiotherapists in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children (Children’s Hospital) provide assessment and treatment for children with a range of conditions. These conditions may result from acute illness, traumatic injury, congenital and inherited conditions.

The service works across many of the children’s specialities helping with patient diagnosis, identifying problems and setting goals for recovery. A range of interventions and Physiotherapy programs help patients make as full a recovery as possible whilst in hospital and on to discharge. Programs are tailored appropriately to each child’s age and physical capability.

These may include:

  • Treatment for acute and chronic respiratory Conditions to clear chest secretions, improve breathing and ability to exercise.
  • Acute rehabilitation following brain injury, burn injury, medical illness or surgery and fracture or trauma. We assist patients to regain strength and mobility and to relearn balance, co-ordination and movement control.
  • Developmental Therapy for babies and young children whose development is delayed due to their illness or condition.
  • Aquatherapy where specific treatment techniques are used in the hydro pool to assist patients in their recovery.

The physiotherapists work closely with parents and carers to promote active involvement in their child’s care. This advice and training will assist everyone to continue treatment at home.

An onward referral to another hospital or community services will be made if required when leaving the Children’s Hospital.  

How to Access the Service:

During normal working hours Physiotherapy accepts Inpatient and Outpatient referrals from

  1. Medical staff across specialities within the children’s hospital.
  2. Senior Medical Staff within neonatal unit in Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital.

Physiotherapy services in the Children’s Hospital link with relevant local teams across Northern Ireland to ensure effective transfer of care.

Location of Service:

The Physiotherapy Department is based in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.
Children may see their Physiotherapist in the physiotherapy gym, hydropool, wards, intensive care unit, neonatal unit or outpatient clinics.

You can contact the Physiotherapy department on

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will a physiotherapy outpatient appointment last for in the children’s hospital?
Approximately ½ to 1 hour depending on your child s condition and tolerance –allow longer for the first appointment to discuss the findings of the assessment.

How long will my child need to keep coming for physiotherapy as an outpatient at the children’s hospital?
After your first appointment, the physiotherapist will discuss treatment goals and programs with you and your child. –Some children need only short term Physiotherapy to resolve their pain or lack of function. Others with a lifelong condition are likely to need Physiotherapy at various times as they grow and develop.

Can a local GP make a referral to Physiotherapy services in the children’s hospital?
No –GP referrals should be made to the Belfast HSC Community Physiotherapy teams who provide this service.