What to Expect | Overview
This page contains information about what to pack and bring to the PPRC, what the typical PPRC day looks like, and other important details.
What to wear daily
- comfortable, appropriate exercise clothing (t-shirts, gym shorts, leggings, sweatpants, and appropriate undergarments)
- athletic shoes/sneakers (with sturdy sole and arch support)
What to bring daily
- reusable water bottle
- PPRC binder (distributed to participants in the first week)
- backpack containing school-assigned work or independent academic work
- laptops or tablets if needed/desired to complete academic work
- headphones for use with computer and phone
Other items to bring as needed
- any articles of clothing that participants currently avoid due to pain or sensitivity. This may include various textured pants (jeans, leggings), various types of shoes (sandals, heels, cleats), or hats (baseball, winter)
- any athletic gear that participants currently avoid due to pain or sensitivity. This may include ski boots, helmets, shin guards, dance shoes, etc.
- any athletic equipment related to sports that participants hope to return to after their admission. This may include a baseball/softball glove, lacrosse stick, field hockey stick, swimsuit and goggles, etc.
Beginning with the first day of the admission, we ask that caregivers and participants arrive at the PPRC by 7:45 a.m. The PPRC day starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Participants will be provided a daily schedule that is individualized to their specific needs. Below is a sample of what our participants’ schedules entail. All individual, family, and group sessions are scheduled with a rotation of daily occupational therapy, physical therapy, and psychology sessions, with recreational therapy and music therapy incorporated as well.
Sample participant schedule*
9 to 10 a.m.
Family or individual therapy (e.g. occupational therapy)
10 to 11 a.m.
Individual therapy (e.g. physical therapy)
11 a.m. to noon
Group therapy (e.g. group PT)
Noon to 1 p.m.
Medical team visits/study hall
1 to 2 p.m.
2 to 3 p.m.
Group therapy (e.g. group recreational therapy)
3 to 4 p.m.
Family or individual therapy (e.g. occupational therapy)
* — The very first day will look a bit different so that many members of the team will have the opportunity to meet with participants and their caregivers.
Information about meals
Breakfast is not provided, but light snacks will be offered mid-morning. All of our participants eat lunch together. A lunch voucher for the cafeteria will be provided to each participant daily. The cafeteria offers a variety of lunch choices including hot and cold foods, soups, and salads. Participants are strongly encouraged to choose a healthy, well- balanced meal for optimal participation in the program. We ask that caregivers inform the PPRC staff of participants' dietary needs or allergies upon arrival. Participants may elect to bring their own snacks and lunch to the PPRC.
We understand that families travel from near and far for their care at the Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Center. For more information on where to stay while traveling, please explore recommended lodging options nearby and other resources on our accommodations page.
School undoubtedly plays a large role in the lives of our participants, so preparing for a successful school re-integration is an important aspect of treatment for most participants. Depending on the time of year of the admission, being at the PPRC may require planned time away from the school setting.
For this reason, our daily schedule for each participant includes dedicated time for completing academic work. Participants are given approximately 60-75 minutes of “study time” during the treatment day to work independently on assignments provided by their school of origin. This “study time” serves two purposes: It provides an opportunity for participants to practice the coping strategies they are learning in the PPRC program and it allows them to stay connected with age-appropriate academic materials to reduce the risk of falling behind.
We ask that you coordinate with your child’s school, prior to PPRC admission, to inform them of the admission and to ensure an adequate flow of schoolwork. Once a participant is enrolled in the PPRC, with caregiver permission, our team will communicate with the school for ongoing coordination. It is important to note that there is no certified teacher on staff at the PPRC. Therefore, all academic work provided should be assignments that participants can complete independently (and/or with the virtual support of school staff).
Evenings and weekends
We create treatment plans for participants and caregivers in the evenings after the program, as well as on the weekends. These plans are crucial to learning how to carry over skills learned at the PPRC to home, school, and the larger community. For example, participants receive a Home Exercise Program (HEP) from physical therapy and/or occupational therapy to be completed daily. Our team also works with each family to identify social, leisure, and extracurricular activities that will help participants practice their skills in new settings. For families who are new to the greater Boston area, our team is happy to offer suggestions for specific evening and weekend activities that will help participants meet their treatment goals.
Caregiver time commitment
On the day of admission, caregivers are asked to remain at the PPRC with their child. During this time, participants and caregivers will have appointments with various members of our team. For all treatment days thereafter, time is built into the PPRC daily schedule for continued caregiver participation.
Caregivers can expect to spend at least one hour per day (typically the first or last hour of the day) at the PPRC, participating in one of their child’s treatment sessions. In addition to daily family treatment sessions, caregivers also attend a weekly two-hour supportive and educational group with other caregivers.
There are a number of other ways that caregivers participate in their child’s treatment. Our team schedules meetings with caregivers and participants to talk about their progress in the program. We also recommend that caregivers schedule weekly visits with the PPRC medical team to address medically oriented questions. Lastly, we hold an optional weekly caregiver coffee hour and have our staff social worker available for additional caregiver support.
The PPRC team continues to provide support for participants and their caregivers for the year following their discharge from the PPRC. This is accomplished through three separate follow-up visits. At each followup visit, participants and their caregivers meet with a pain physician, psychologist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, and nurse practitioner, all of whom are familiar with the PPRC approach to managing chronic pain. These three followup visits occur approximately:
- one to two months after discharge
- four to six months after discharge
- one year after discharge
During a PPRC followup visit, the team may:
- conduct a physical evaluation of the participant’s pain-related symptoms
- assess adherence to treatment plans
- readminister standardized tests and measures
- review progress related to reintegration into all domains of functioning
- discuss barriers to progress and assist in problem solving
- update treatment plans as necessary