Gastrostomy and children: A review of the literature in learning disabilities

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Authors: Herrington, P., Assey, J., Rouse, L. and Baker, R.

Journal: Children and Society

Volume: 15

Issue: 5

Pages: 375-386

eISSN: 1099-0860

ISSN: 0951-0605

DOI: 10.1002/chi.680

Children with developmental delays often suffer feeding difficulties. It has become common for those with a severe likelihood of malnutrition to be considered for alternative methods of nutritional intake, often a gastrostomy. As part of a pilot study investigating the effects of gastrostomy on the child and their family, we conducted a literature review in order to establish the current areas of research, progress and concern. This paper describes the method and findings of the literature review and concludes with a discussion of the topics raised. The main conclusion is that although the need for gastrostomy in this group of children has been shown to be effective in maintaining adequate weight gain and nutritional intake, the support given to the family prior to, and after the operation is inadequate. Greater emphasis needs to be placed on detailed family assessment as part of the early intervention package. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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