The inpatient program of the Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program provides intensive interdisciplinary therapy for children who have severe feeding difficulties that require 24-hour nursing, medical supervision or fluid intake.

Good Candidates for Inpatient Feeding Disorders Treatment: 

Our inpatient services are recommended for children with severe feeding disorders who need close medical assessments, nutritional monitoring, oral motor assessments and behavioral interventions.

Some of these feeding difficulties include the following:

  • Failure to thrive
  • Vomiting
  • Tube dependence (most commonly G-tube dependence)
  • Total food refusal
  • Mealtime behavior problems

Feeding Disorders Inpatient Services:

In our inpatient program, we start with the assumption that children may have had a good reason for not wanting to eat. We then work with you and your child to advance mealtime goals in a safe environment as your child is trying something new.

We use the information gathered in your child’s initial evaluationto create treatment goals and a plan for therapy. In addition, we conduct evaluations on an ongoing basis.

We build upon each feeding session — looking for what works and what doesn’t. As your stay progresses, we continue to refine our approach with each new session using team member assessments.  

Establishing Treatment Goals:

During the first week of the hospital stay, our team discusses each team member’s evaluation and potential goals for your child. We then meet as a group with you and your child’s other caregivers to review and finalize the recommended goals.

We focus on developing measurable goals that allow us to objectively track your child’s progress. And, throughout your child's stay, we work together with you to meet those goals.

Typical inpatient feeding disorder goals include the following:

  • Increase weight
  • Increase food intake by mouth
  • Increase food texture and the types of food consumed
  • Decrease G-tube or bottle dependence
  • Decrease meal time inappropriate behaviors
  • Reduce meal time vomiting (emesis)
  • Establish feeding patterns that can be maintained at home and in other environments, like day care or at school

Team Assessments:

Throughout your child's hospital stay, our team meets regularly to review and adjust treatment to meet your child’s goals.

Your child’s progress is assessed regularly by our team members:

  • Our team’s nutritionist and pediatrician — and other team members as needed — continue to monitor your child's treatment course throughout admission.
  • A nutritionist/dietican monitors caloric intake and provides healthy food choices
  • A behavioral psychologist assesses the severity and type of food refusal or selectivity, observes meals, and evaluates treatment options based on the information gathered.
  • An occupational therapist and  speech pathologists assesses oral motor abilities to determine whether feeding difficulties are related to neurological deficits or oral motor dysfunction.
  • A nutritionist evaluates the nutritional and caloric requirements needed for catch-up growth.
  • A social worker assists the family in dealing with psychosocial issues and with obtaining other community resources as needed.

Measuring Progress Towards Goals:

  • Before your child is discharged from the hospital, we meet with you and other caregivers to review the outcomes of treatment and how closely they are aligned with the treatment goals.
  • At that time, we work with you to plan for follow-up care. Children who received behavioral treatment during their stay may receive follow-up outpatient services from behavioral psychology, speech pathology, or occupational therapy to futher advance progress made during admission and assist with adjustment to home, school, and community.
  • We see parent and caregiver training as an essential component to the success of the program; as part of this success, we measure how reliably feeding patterns can be maintained outside of the hospital.
  • As part of follow-up care, we continue to adjust and monitor how treatment is going at home to ensure your child continues to improve.
  • Other disciplines will also provide follow-up services, usually through Feeding and Swallowing Clinic visits