Children with Complex Needs – feeding pilot
Child A is a 7 year old boy with complex health needs who attends school at Ysgol Y Deri and also had short breaks at Ty Hafan Hospice. His Mother had chosen to give him a blended diet via his gastrostomy feed line instead of the normal prescribed feed. The family had reported an improvement in his heath and well being since making the change including a reduction in gastric symptoms and a reduction in hospital admissions. Overall, she felt that Child A’s general health had improved and that he was more settled.
Children who are fed using a gastrostomy feed line are usually given a prescribed feed which can be administered by parents and health care staff involved with that child. Giving blended diet via a gastrostomy feeding tube has limited clinical evidence to support it and few agreed policies that allow health professionals to administer it. Across the UK very few health boards have policies in place to support nurses administering this type of feed.
The team undertook a quality improvement project jointly with Ty Hafan to develop a process to enable safe administration of blended diet in Special Schools and at Ty Hafan Hospice. As part of this project they undertook individual risk assessments and undertook a number of small test cycles of nurse administration of blended feeds. This resulted in the development of an agreed care pathway and procedures to allow nurse and healthcare support workers to administer blended diet via a gastrostomy feed line in both a school and hospice setting.
Child A now has access to a blended diet at home, school and when he stays at Ty Hafan Hospice. This practice has also been extended to four other children within the same settings.
Child A’s Mum said “I think it’s brilliant that you are doing this and again I would like to thank you and the team of people involved for helping change my son’s life and ensuring he has the best quality of life possible”.
This work is undergoing further evaluation to see how the service might support administration of blended feeds in other settings