An indwelling feeding tube (nasogastric or gastrostomy tube) is often used in the hospital to ensure adequate growth and to administer medications in premature and critically ill infants. Use of feeding tubes is supposed to be a temporary solution until the child can learn how to safely eat by mouth. However, many children have a challenging time transitioning to oral feeding because they miss critical developmental opportunities as an infant to engage in typically staged eating development.
During Tier I, this partnership started the process of community engagement to improve the transition of tube feeding to oral feeding for children and their families. We established a steering committee with a diverse representation of partners (caregivers, researchers, and other stakeholders). We also created a partnership name: iEAT (Inspiring Eating After Tube Feeding). With partner input and ideas, we developed a logo, initial website, and social media presence. Additionally, the partnership has developed a list of potential comparative effectiveness ideas and identified possible workgroups to explore topics more in depth during Tier II. This Tier II Pipeline to Proposal project aims to build on the iEAT partnership and infrastructure established during Tier I by doing the following:
1. Expanding the engagement of caregivers, researchers, and other stakeholders to further develop the iEAT partnership
2. Finalizing a governance structure and identifying workgroups to strengthen partnership infrastructure
3. Developing a communication plan to engage a broader iEAT audience
4. Identifying a comparative effectiveness research question to develop as a proposal in Tier III