Feeding Programs & Nutrition

Dr_Carol_Redel_Photo_complete.jpgAt HealthBridge Children’s Hospital our Feeding Program & Child Nutrition Services identifies and evaluates children unable to consume sufficient calories via oral feeding to maintain and promote growth.

Conditions Treated

  • Management of abnormal suck
  • Abnormal eating problems
  • Swallow patterns from genetic and metabolic deficits
  • Identification of aspiration risk
  • Disruptive mealtime behaviors
  • Tube feeding management 

Our Approach to Treatment

Our Feeding & Swallowing Program is specially designed to meet the nutritional needs of the child with feeding & swallowing disorder, to overcome barriers, and provide specialized family/caregiver training to ensure success at discharge. We use evidence- based guidelines in developing your child’s treatment plan. Because feeding & swallowing disorders are a combination of nutritional and mechanical factors, our team uses a unique scoring system to identify your child’s stage at admission, determine your child’s goal stage, and evaluate success along the way. A Registered Dietitian (RD) will evaluate each child’s nutritional status to determine needs and goals, which can include following a normal rate of growth, demonstrating catch-up weight gain, achieving weight loss or correcting nutrient deficiency. Fill out our contact form for more information or call 281-293-7774. 

Infant Feeding & Swallowing
This program is designed for babies who are diagnosed with, or at risk for, feeding and swallowing problems– including NICU, failure to thrive, cardiac and tube-fed or TPN-supported patients.

Acute Feeding & Swallowing
Acute Feeding & Swallowing patients have unique feeding & swallowing needs resulting from acute medical or traumatic events, such as: traumatic brain injury or prolonged tubefeeding and/or mechanical ventilation, and some children with chronic medical conditions.

HealthBridge Children’s Hospital utilizes a multi- disciplinary team approach to provide individualized specialty assessment and treatment planning, including Board-certified pediatric physicians, a nursing staff that is specially-trained in the management of the child with a feeding and swallowing disorder, respiratory therapists, who are specially-trained in the care of neonatal, pediatric, and adolescent patients, physical, occupational and speech therapist, a Registered Dietician, and a Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician. Additional team members may include case manager, psychologist, social worker and child life specialist who focus on facilitating a smooth transition home.

Treatment may include:

  • Development of feeding readiness
  • Therapeutic exercises for the swallowing
  • Determine optimal delivery system for liquids(nipple style/ bottle/cup style)
  • Determine optimal rate and consistency for liquid and food
  • Breath support techniques
  • Postural strategy training
  • Modifications of eating behaviors and/or meal environment
  • Caregiver training

Family involvement is a key element in mealtime success for any child. This is particularly true for children with feeding and swallowing disorders. A child’s treatment planning will be centered around the ability of the family to ensure the child’s success after discharge, identifying the child’s stage at admission, determining the child’s goal stage, and evaluating success along the way.

Referrals

Our admissions team at HealthBridge Children’s Hospital works closely with referring hospitals to ensure that the admission process is efficient. Nurse liaisons and admission coordinators assist in our referral and admission process. To refer a patient to HealthBridge Children’s Hospital, physicians and families may call our Admissions Department at (713) 351-6623.