Eligibility and Evaluation Process for the Inpatient Feeding Program

The Inpatient Feeding Program at CHOC is intended for children who have had prior feeding therapy and continue to struggle with feeding or remain tube-fed for some or all of their nutrition. Children can be referred by physicians, feeding therapists or other healthcare providers, or they may be self-referred by a legal guardian. Referrals are accepted by email at feedingprogram@choc.org or by phone at (714) 509-4884.

The following will be considered when a child is evaluated for the Feeding Program:

  • Amount or types of food accepted by mouth
  • Overall feeding skills
  • Nutrition or growth problems
  • Dependence on G-Tube or risk for G-Tube placement
  • Developmental age of at least 9 months old
  • Progress in feeding therapy

Participants in the Feeding Program must have:

  • Safe swallowing skills
  • A medically stable status with no pending surgeries or major procedures
  • One primary caregiver (parent or legal guardian) who is willing and able to stay with the child during the entire 19-day inpatient hospitalization

Referrals are reviewed by the team. Families are contacted by the Feeding Program department assistant and scheduled for a consultation with the medical team in the Feeding Clinic. If appropriate, the child and family will be scheduled for a two-hour outpatient evaluation.

The two-hour outpatient evaluation includes:

  • Mealtime observation
  • Assessments by a multidisciplinary team of psychosocial, feeding therapy, dietitian and medical program members
  • A detailed report and recommendations meeting the specific needs of the child and family

Appropriate candidates for the Inpatient Feeding Program will then work with the team to set goals and an admission date. Insurance authorization must be approved prior to admission.