VPRS is committed to providing evidence-informed, best practice services for children and adolescents who have functional difficulties as a result of injury, illness or medical procedure. We work in conjunction with our research partners to improve participation and outcomes for children and adolescents through research, knowledge translation, and education.

The VPRS works in partnership with research groups within the Clinical Sciences theme of the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, including Child Neuropsychology, Developmental Disability & Rehabilitation Research, Developmental Imaging, Emergency Research, Gait Lab & Orthopaedics, Paediatric Intensive Care, and Social & Mental Health Research. VPRS is involved in the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centres for Research Excellence in Cerebral Palsy and Towards Improving Outcomes after Traumatic Brain Injury, and leads a large research program in paediatric chronic fatigue syndrome. Other research partners include The Royal Children’s Hospital, Monash Health and the RCH Education Institute. The collaboration between VPRS and the research teams allows research findings to be quickly put into practice. For further information about these research programs, please follow the embedded links or contact Dr Sarah Knight, our Clinical Research Education Officer (frank.muscara@mcri.edu.au).


The VPRS has a number of up-to-date, evidence-informed online education packages and resources for professionals working in paediatric rehabilitation. These packages cover a range of topics including care planning, goal setting, and interdisciplinary service provision in acquired brain injury and physical rehabilitation. We also run regular statewide education forums for our staff. Click on the Education tab for more information about the education we provide.


New Australian Guidelines for the Rehabilitation of Children with Stroke

Researchers from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and health professionals from the statewide Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service have produced the first rehabilitation guidelines in Australia to help children who have had a stroke.  Between 100 and 300 Australian children are diagnosed with a stroke each year. The purpose of this guideline is to improve the care of children with stroke by providing health professionals with evidence-based and consensus-based recommendations to guide the rehabilitation process following a diagnosis of childhood stroke. These guidelines have been endorsed by the National Stroke Foundation.

Associate Professor Mark MacKay, from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the University of Melbourne who chaired the Guideline Development Committee of the ‘The Subacute Rehabilitation of Childhood Stroke Clinical Guidelines’ said more than half of the children who suffer a stroke will have long-term disabilities, affecting their physical functioning, communication, learning and social behavior.

“The lifelong burden of stroke is of course greater for children than adults, because more than half of strokes occur in children under five years of age. These children, therefore, face decades of living with disability,” A/Prof MacKay said. “But perhaps the most crucial difference between paediatric and adult stroke is that the child will face difficulties achieving an independent life because the stroke happens while the child’s brain is still developing, whereas adults who have strokes lose independence.” A/Prof MacKay said providing children with the best possible rehabilitation can reduce the long-term financial, psychological, functional and emotional effects of childhood stroke.

Dr Sarah Knight, Team Leader in the Neurodisability and Rehabilitation team at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service, and post-doctoral fellow, Dr Mardee Greenham, co-led the development of the guidelines.

“These guidelines will help to improve consistency of rehabilitation care, so that children can have access to high quality, best practice care regardless of where they live,” Dr Knight said. The guidelines are aimed at hospital and community based health professionals and will be available on the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service websites. The guidelines provide key recommendations regarding teamwork and family involvement, collaborative goal setting, and managing transitions. They also include targeted treatment strategies for specific areas often affected by childhood stroke, including movement, pain, speech and language, thinking and learning, mood and behaviour, participation in school and recreation activities, and family function.


The guidelines were made possible with the support of the Victorian Stroke Clinical Network, the Department of Health and Human Services (Victorian State Government) and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.


Click here for the guidelines  Sub-acute Rehabilitation of Childhood Stroke Clinical Guideline