Feeding difficulties in children are really common – some studies estimate that 1 in 2 to 1 in 3 parents worry about their child’s feeding at some stage. For some families their child’s feeding goes far beyond worrying – their children need specialist therapy, medical support or even feeding tubes to stay safe.
Research into feeding difficulties in children is not common. Despite lots of hard work in Australia and around the world to try and help children with feeding difficulties we still don’t know as much as we would like about looking after these children. More importantly, we don’t know much at all about what parents, carers and children themselves want from their healthcare services.
The Supporting Children with Complex Feeding Difficulties (SuCCEED) Study in Sydney, Australia, is attempting to answer the question “what makes great care for children with feeding difficulties and their families?” This is a really big question, so we’ve broken it down into four parts:
- What are we currently doing in our Feeding Clinics and how should we measure the quality of care that we provide?
- How common is stress and distress in parents and carers of children with feeding difficulties?
- What do parents / carers and clinicians think brilliant care looks like?
- What do parents and carers want to know about feeding difficulties? We’re starting with those with the highest support needs; family of children who need feeding tubes.
In 2017/18 we are starting small, to make sure we are using the right methods and collecting the right data to answer these questions the right way. If we’re successful, we hope to expand the kinds of questions we ask, and where we ask them.
We invite you to follow along our progress through ChildFeeding.org. Thank you for your interest and support!
– Dr Chris Elliot, Paediatrician and Chief Investigator for the SuCCEED Study.