St. Mary's Intensive Day Patient Feeding Program
Intensive Day Therapy
The Intensive Day Patient Feeding Program typically involves 3 - 5 hours of therapy during the day, Monday through Friday, for 6 - 8 weeks. However, shorter lengths of stay are an option based on the individualized needs of the child and family. This level of care is appropriate for children with moderate to severe feeding problems who are medically stable and in need of an intensive treatment approach. Many children recommended for this type of program have not had success with prior outpatient services or may not have had access to a team based model in their local area.
Day Patient treatment involves an intensive, team-based feeding program. A team of professionals is assembled to address each child's specific needs and all members of the team are involved in a child's daily care.
Specialties represented include:
- Speech-Language Therapy (SLP)
- Occupational therapy (OT, COTA)
- Social work
The focus on family-centered care incorporates support, education and training. This approach has proven to be very effective in treating acute feeding problems, giving our young patients a chance at better nutrition and growth.
During the first 1-2 days in the program, feeding assessments are conducted to evaluate feeding problems. These are called baseline sessions. We ask caregivers and therapists to feed the child without interventions so that we can observe the child's skills and responses.
During treatment, a child will receive 3 - 4 feeding therapy sessions each day. Sessions can also be viewed by parents or by members of a child's treatment team by closed circuit TV. These sessions typically include one of the feeding therapists (SLP, OT, COTA) and the psychologists working together with the child. Parents may be in the treatment room with their child.
The child's daily therapy schedule includes feeding sessions at set times during the day with time between for play and naps. Families are expected to bring all medications, diaper and feeding supplies when needed. Parents are expected to be responsible for their child's care while in the Feeding Program. Also, it is strongly encouraged that other arrangements are made for any siblings. It is important that caregivers focus their full attention on the child and treatment for a successful outcome.
Each week, the treatment team reviews progress, evaluates short and long term goals, reviews date of discharge and plans changes to the child's treatment interventions.
Members of the team will review the treatment plan with the family, gather input and answer any questions they may have. A copy of the treatment plan and discharge summary may be shared with the primary care physician, subspecialists and/or insurance company, as well as any others involved in the child's care, provided the parent has provided permission. Family members are encouraged to speak with any team member as desired.
Family members may observe therapy sessions from within or outside the treatment room. However, once successful feeding techniques are established, we teach parents and caregivers how to use the new feeding methods so they can participate in feeding sessions as well as carry over treatment interventions on evenings and weekends, and eventually transition to becoming the child's primary feeder for all meals. We also train other family members and caregivers (teachers, babysitters, grandparents, etc.) in the child's specific feeding technique as well as in nutritional and medical management issues.
We arrange outpatient visits and clinic appointments after discharge from the Day Treatment Program as needed. We are available by phone, video conference or email to address any issues or questions and if a family lives far from St. Mary's, we work with the family to arrange for professionals living in the child's local area to help continue treatment. We may ask family members/caregivers to keep data to monitor progress and make necessary treatment changes.