Parent Responsibilities Before, During and After the Inpatient Feeding Program

One parent or legal guardian stays with the child while going through treatment in the 19-day CHOC Multidisciplinary Program. This parent or legal guardian who stays with the child should be the primarily prepares and eats the majority of meals at home with the child is the parent who will stay with the child throughout the hospitalization. Due to the nature of the therapy and learning process, the same caregiver must stay the entire 19-days so that they are able to learn the whole process and the tools necessary to continue the child’s progress once back at home. If both parents would like to stay for the entire program, they may, but one will be chosen to be the primary feeder and trained more extensively.

The team is happy to complete any Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or paperwork needed for an employer to allow for this extended time off. A secondary feeder such as the other parent, a nanny or grandparent may be integrated during the third week of the program, based on the family’s situation and the child’s progress in treatment.

Responsibilities of parent before the program:

  • Phone consultation with feeding therapist, dietician and psychosocial team members for update and preparation.
  • Participate in pre-admission meeting in person or by phone on the Friday before admission.
  • Prepare support system to help with the stress of being hospitalized.

Responsibilities of the parent during the program:

  • Attend all feeding therapy sessions with the child.
  • Consult with feeding therapists regarding each session and what they are learning.
  • Consult with the psychologist and social worker regarding behavioral strategies and techniques, as well as coping with the changes in the feeding process.
  • Be open to learning new strategies and changing ways of interaction with the child.
  • Complete meal orders and calorie count worksheets daily.
  • Spend the night at the hospital with the child (other parent can trade off if needed but primary feeder must be present for all meals and snacks) .
  • Participate in weekly team meetings to discuss child’s progress and goals

Responsibilities of parent after the program:

  • Allow for at least an additional week off of work/school to apply the child’s new feeding structure, skills and management techniques into the home environment.
  • Maintain structured mealtime schedule in the home environment.
  • Plan for at least three months of intentional feeding time with the child several times each day until the skills are mastered and the child is more independent.
  • Follow-up with outpatient therapy recommendations.
  • Help other family members and caregivers understand the skills learned in the program to maintain consistency in all of the child’s meals.

Our virtual tour helps patients and their families have a better understanding of what to expect while living at CHOC for 19 days. Click here to watch the tour.