Implementing blended feeding for children with intellectual disabilities in a school environment
evidence and practice    

Implementing blended feeding for children with intellectual disabilities in a school environment

Amanda Shovlin Staff Nurse, Stewarts School, Dublin, Ireland
Michael Flynn Staff Nurse, Stewarts School, Dublin, Ireland
Julia Louw Research Fellow, Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin, Ireland
Carmel Doyle Assistant Professor, Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin, Ireland

Why you should read this article:
  • To recognise the increasing use of blended food administered through an enteral tube for children with intellectual disabilities

  • To be aware of the lack of research about blended diets despite their potential physiological, social and emotional benefits for some children

  • To identify the need for evidence-based practical guidance and decision-making tools on blended diets to support healthcare professionals

Enteral feeding is commonly used in children with intellectual disabilities for short and long periods of time, and for a variety of reasons. Traditionally, sterile, ready-to-use commercial feeds are the recommended method of enteral feeding. However, the use of blended diets – where home-made food is mixed to a smooth consistency – has been increasing, with parents preferring to use these to ensure more natural nutritional management and to control their child’s gastrointestinal symptoms.

This article explores the implementation of blended feeding for gastrostomy button-fed children with intellectual disabilities in the special school environment in Ireland. It presents a case study that details the multidisciplinary team approach that was adopted and the decision-making tool and risk assessment process used. Blended feeding has now been adopted in the special school environment, with the intellectual disability nurses working at the school leading its implementation.

Learning Disability Practice. doi: 10.7748/ldp.2020.e2093

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

Amanda.shovelin@stewartscare.ie

Conflict of interest

None declared

Shovlin A, Flynn M, Louw J et al (2020) Implementing blended feeding for children with intellectual disabilities in a school environment. Learning Disability Practice. doi: 10.7748/ldp.2020.e2093

Published online: 01 October 2020

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