Evaluation and treatment of feeding challenges in pediatric populations using the OT feeding outcome tool
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INTRODUCTION: This Capstone project provided preliminary data on the OT Feeding Outcome Tool and general data on outcomes of feeding interventions at Children’s Specialized Hospital. The OT Feeding Outcome Tool is an internally developed and utilized tool to assess a wide range of pediatric feeding difficulties, regardless of diagnosis and intervention. THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVE: Sensory Integration and Behaviorism were the major theoretical frameworks. DESCRIPTION OF DOCTORAL CAPSTONE: A literature review, focus groups, interviews, chart audits, an online questionnaire and clinical participation and observation provided quantitative and qualitative data on the current state of the literature, barriers to implementation and outcomes of children who have received feeding therapy at Children’s Specialized Hospital. RESULTS: The majority of pediatric feeding assessments are based in behavioral theory and interventions and fail to capture the multi-faceted etiologies and intervention approaches that are seen in practice. Data analyses revealed children who receive feeding therapy at Children’s Specialized Hospital, regardless of diagnosis or intervention, have positive responses recorded by the OT Feeding Outcome Tool. Major barriers to tool implementation were logistical challenges, forgetting and lack of competency. Most effective education methods of the tool were discussion with colleagues, staff meeting and an education presentation. CONCLUSION: There is a significant lack of feeding assessment tools for pediatric populations in the literature, and specifically a lack of evaluations that incorporate an occupational therapy and sensory integration lens. The OT Feeding Outcome Tool is a promising assessment tool for the evaluation of feeding difficulties in pediatric populations.