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What is Mater Multidisciplinary Paediatric Feeding Clinic?

What is Mater Multidisciplinary Paediatric Feeding Clinic?

Our clinic assesses and treats infants and children who are experiencing difficulties with feeding and swallowing. The Multidisciplinary Paediatric Feeding Clinic is staffed by specialised speech pathologists, dietitians and occupational therapists that have extensive experience in the treatment of feeding and swallowing difficulties.

This multidisciplinary paediatric feeding clinic can be attended by children that are ‘tube dependent’. A ‘tube dependent’ child needs feeding through a gastric (gastrostomy), intestinal (jejunal) or nasogastric (NG) tube. This clinic is designed to help these children with weaning off their feeding tube. The team of specialists at our clinic will work with you and your child to develop an individualised plan for tube weaning. This will need to be done in conjunction with your paediatrician.

What is a ‘tube dependent’ child?

Tube dependency can occur as an unintended side effect of long term tube feeding when tube feeding was started as a medical intervention to manage a medical, nutritional or developmental condition (and sometimes psychosocial problem).

Why might a ‘tube dependent’ child need extra help weaning off their feeding tube?

The consequences of long term tube feeding can mean a child misses the opportunity to learn the skills and behaviours needed for ‘age-appropriate’ eating at a critical time in their development. As a result, children do not learn the important link between being hungry and eating. Refusal to eat, lack of interest and motivation to eat are secondary issues that become challenging behaviours to change. Children with feeding tubes that are tube dependent can have oral motor problems sensory problems and other challenging meal time behaviours (difficulties with chewing or gagging on foods) which may need specialist input in order to successfully transition from tube feeding to eating.

What can the Multidisciplinary Paediatric Feeding Clinic offer me and my child?

Our specialist team can:

  • assess your child’s feeding skills, including swallowing safety
  • assess feeding and meal time behaviours 
  • implement strategies to improve feeding skills development
  • advise you on how to promote a positive feeding relationship between you and your child
  • assess your child’s nutritional status and provide an individual feeding plan to meet their nutritional needs
  • implement mealtime structure and appetite manipulation
  • advise you on how to expand the variety of foods accepted and introduce new foods within your family.

The tube weaning process

Before considering a ‘tube wean’ your child must be medically stable and must have the agreement of your child’s paediatrician and medical specialists. There may be many steps involved in weaning a child from a feeding tube, with the primary aim being to help the child experience hunger that drives motivation to eat and gain weight appropriately without needing tube feeding. Studies have reported positive results in the transition to eating from supervised intensive multidisciplinary tube weaning interventions by experienced clinicians.

For further information or to make a multidisciplinary feeding assessment appointment, please telephone 07 3163 6000.

Mater Health and Wellness Multidisciplinary Paediatric Feeding Clinic is located on Level 3, Salmon Building, 535 Stanley Street, South Brisbane.

CONTACT

Level 1, Mater Corporate

Services Building

Raymond Terrace

South Brisbane Qld 4101

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