Feeding disorders typical treatment path
General treatment path
While your child's treatment program will be unique, the vast majority of cases follow our carefully developed general treatment path. We have organized this path into phases, each of which will help determine the care that works best for your child and your family.
Please note that there are two options below: one for local residents and one for children who come from out of town. For classification purposes, we define “out of town” as anyone living more than a five hour drive away, one way.
Before your visit
After your child is referred to us and an appointment is scheduled, we will have your child's medical records sent to us so we can better understand his or her case. We like to hit the ground running when it comes getting your child healthy, and that means gathering as much information as we can as early in the process as possible.
Phases of treatment – local patients
Phase I – first visit and evaluation
During your first visit, you, your child and any other family members you wish to join will meet with members of your child’s treatment team - a physician, a dietitian, and a nurse. Together, we will review your child's medical history and nutrition status. We then determine what tests, if any, are necessary (such as blood work, radiology, etc.) and what treatments meet your child's needs.
Phase II – second visit and your treatment team
During your second visit, you will meet once again with your treatment team. At this time, we also bring in additional specialists as necessary, such as a pediatric psychologist or a speech-language pathologist. This team works together – in the same room, at the same time – to determine the best path of care. Each treatment plan is highly individualized, and your child’s plan may include components such as skill-building, a special diet, or medication.
Phase III – a treatment plan in action
Once we've determined a treatment plan, it is time to help work with your family to put your child’s plan into action. This may include one or more of the following approaches:
- Outpatient therapy
- Intensive outpatient therapy
- Intensive inpatient therapy
During this phase, your child will need the support and encouragement of his or her family the most. Change can be hard, especially for kids, so it is important for your child to understand that these changes are necessary for his or her health and happiness.
Phases of treatment – out of town patients
Phase I – initial evaluation
While it is best for us to see your child and meet you in person, for families who live five or more travel hours away, the initial Phase I evaluation can be done over the phone. You, your child, and any other family members you wish to join will meet with a physician, a dietitian, and a nurse. Together, we review your child's medical history and nutrition status. We then determine what tests, if any, are necessary (such as blood work, radiology, etc.) and what treatments meet your child's needs.
Phase II – in-person visit with your treatment team
For families living out of town, this is their first in-person visit with our team. This in-person evaluation is crucial and cannot be completed by phone.
The treatment phase – Phase III – is largely the same for in-town and out-of-town families. (Please see Phase III – a treatment plan in action above for details.)
Outpatient treatment is the preferred option. Healthy habits start at home, so it's important to us that your child gets into the habit of living with his or her treatment plan at home as soon as possible.
Intensive outpatient treatment is for children who need a little more help making the transition to their healthy lifestyle. In this case, your child stays with us for 3 to 5 days. Families who come from very far away for an evaluation may also stay for an extended visit.
Intensive inpatient treatment is always our last resort, only considered if it is medically necessary and outpatient treatment has failed. A very small percentage of children enter this program, which involves a 2-week stay. This stay involves ongoing assessments with 24-hour supervision, intensive feeding therapy, as well as training and education for families to maintain successful oral feeding at home.