Children's Hospital Colorado
Pediatric Mental Health Institute
Pediatric Mental Health Institute

Medical Day Treatment

A boy with a buzz cut and wearing a gray and black zip up sweatshirt with black and gray camouflage pants sits at a wooden cubicle desk writing.

About the Medical Day Treatment Program school alternative

Created in 1991, Medical Day Treatment is a joint venture between Children’s Hospital Colorado and Aurora Public Schools. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for children and teens whose chronic medical illnesses prevent them from attending regular schools. The Medical Day Treatment team works together with youth and families to reach academic goals and improve physical and emotional health.

Our team includes:

  • Nurses
  • Teachers
  • Mental health staff
  • Creative arts therapists

Services we provide

We provide broad and integrated services to meet each child’s unique medical, schooling and mental health needs. Our program runs Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. through the calendar year and includes:

  • Comprehensive initial evaluation
  • Individualized treatment plans
  • Monthly family meetings to keep track of each child’s progress toward goals
  • Medical evaluation and daily nursing support
  • Consultation with psychiatrist if needed
  • Individual, family and group therapies
  • Daily classroom support and specialized learning plans
  • Therapeutic setting
  • Community outings
  • Breakfast, lunch and snacks

Steps to join our program

  1. The youth and family take part in a pre-placement meeting with the Medical Day Treatment team.
  2. A doctor places an order for Medical Day Treatment as a medically needed service.
  3. The youth’s insurance is verified.
  4. The youth’s home school district approves the placement.
  5. The parent or guardian agrees to take part in the program.

Why choose a special school for sick children?

Located at Children's Colorado on Anschutz Medical Campus, the Medical Day Treatment Program provides medical, educational and psychosocial interventions to children and adolescents with chronic medical illnesses. This program is designed for students aged 7 to 21 years old who have difficulty functioning in a regular school environment, either because of their illness or due to psychological reactions to their medical condition.

A maximum of 30 patients can be served at any given time. This is an accredited school program that employs two certified teachers along with two paraprofessionals from the Aurora Public School system. The program is also staffed with nurses, a psychologist, social worker and other medical professionals.

The program schedule is similar to school; it is open Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. through 2:30 p.m. The program's length of stay varies based on individual needs. Medical Day Treatment provides specialized team care which includes medical education, family-based therapy and individualized treatment plans. Medical Day Treatment is helpful for patients making the transition out of the hospital or to stabilize children from the community who are having difficulty with daily activities at home and school.

Specific conditions we treat

Chronic conditions treated at the Medical Day Program include:

Admission criteria

  • Diagnosis of chronic or debilitating disease
  • Frequent hospitalizations and/or Emergency Department visits
  • Significant school absenteeism due to illness
  • Noncompliance with medical routines
  • Aged 7 to 21 years old
  • Parent/guardian must be involved with the program
  • Insurance verification
  • School district approval

School offers lessons of hope

Read an article about our program in The Denver Post: "The school inside Children’s Hospital Colorado offers lessons of hope amid harsh reality"

Contact us

For more information, or if you are a physician seeking to make a referral, please call 720-777-6200.