Children with Feeding Difficulties (SuCCEED)

I am part of the Supporting Children with Complex Feeding Difficulties (SuCCEED) project. For 2017-2019 we have $70,000 funding from the Sydney Partnership for Education, Research, and Enterprise (SPHERE), or Maridulu Buyari Gumal (the name gifted to SPHERE by the Aboriginal community, a Dharug name meaning working together for good health and wellbeing). The project is led by Dr Chris Elliot and is part of the Early Life Determinants of Health Clinical Academic Group.

Summary of the project

Feeding difficulties are prevalent in the community. Addressing the health and wellbeing of children with feeding difficulties and their families, including unwanted variation in and barriers to care, is likely to be an effective way to target interventions to a population at high risk of adverse health outcomes.

Feeding clinics around Australia and internationally are heterogeneous in their clinician composition, healthcare model, patient accessibility and data collection with limited evidence regarding what constitutes effective patient care and how to demonstrate this.

This pilot project between Feeding Clinics in SESLHD, SCHN and SWSLHD will address access to service and appropriateness of service by:

  1. Identifying and measuring access to and effective practice in feeding clinics, referencing existing models of care in cancer, cardiac disease and general multidisciplinary feeding clinics and including measures of parent and child psychosocial distress and index child quality of life by:
    • A systematic review of current literature
    • Expert consensus by engaging the study group to:
      • Determining existing models of care, clinic composition, clinic capacity, patient population, pathways and barriers to care (from carer and provider perspectives) for all sites
      • Developing and piloting a standardised data set for Feeding Clinics, in conjunction with the Chronic Diseases stream to support future research into clinical variability in care between different geographic sites, patient groups (eg: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) and / or conditions (eg: cancer, disability).
      • Additionally assess the feasibility of routine psychosocial distress screening
  1. Build on an existing resource for children requiring enteral (tube) feeds to create and evaluate a patient-informed education package based on current best practice and an assessment of parents’
    • Understanding/knowledge about enteral feeding
    • Health literacy
    • Unmet information needs regarding feeding
    • Preferences for delivery of information (online vs paper vs in-person)
  1. Identifying opportunities to translate brilliant care practices between healthcare services through the novel use of video reflective ethnography.

The online education package will be freely available, including during its development and refinement.

We are collaborating with:

  • St George Hospital and Kogarah Diagnostic Assessment Service Feeding Clinic (SESLHD);
  • Liverpool Hospital Department of Speech Pathology, Oral Health Services and Community Child Health (SWSLHD);
  • Department of Community Child Health / Integrated Care, Department of Speech Pathology, Department of Gastroenterology, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Kids Cancer Centre (SCH Randwick)
  • University of New South Wales
  • Western Sydney University
  • University of Technology Sydney.

The SuCCEED team comprises:

Dr Chris Elliot – General and Developmental Paediatrician: St George Hospital (South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD), Sydney Children’s Hospital Network (SCHN) Randwick and University of New South Wales (Conjoint Lecturer)

A/Prof Susan Woolfenden – Community Paediatrician, Department of Community Child Health, Sydney Children’s Hospital Network Randwick

Dr Ann Dadich, Senior Lecturer Western Sydney University School of Human Resources and Management

A/Prof Nick Hopwood, UTS School of Education (that’s me!)

We have senior support from and links to other SPHERE projects through:

A/Prof Nadine Kasparian – UNSW / Head of Psychology for the Heart Centre for Children, Sydney Children’s Hospital Network

A/Prof Claire Wakefield – UNSW / Head of Behavioural Sciences Unit, Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital Network Randwick