The Center for Pediatric Feeding & Swallowing at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital has received MODERN HEALTHCARE magazine's 2008 Spirit of Excellence C.A.R.E.S. Award. The award recognizes a team or group of individuals whose collective actions, attitudes, and behaviors personify: compassion, accountability, respect, enthusiasm, and service. It also honors organizations and individuals that go beyond what's expected in serving their patients and communities.
Treating nearly 5,000 children in its eight years of operation, the Center services 32 states and four countries and has an 88% average success rate of patients achieving or exceeding their goals.
As one of the few Centers in the world to focus on pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders, St. Joseph's patients work with a variety of medical professionals from 54 different subspecialties. The Center's employees work to meet the needs of children who face challenges related to the volume, texture, and variety of foods, with many children not gaining sufficient weight, said William Roche, clinical director.
"They eat things that are smooth because it makes their bellies feel better," Mr. Roche said. "The majority of them coming in are... food-selective."
With services provided one hour every two to three weeks, most children enter the program as outpatients. For those patients who are not making progress, the Center provides a day treatment program with more-intensive interventions. Ensuring that their patients receive the right mix of treatment, the Center's employees enter each patient's data at the end of the day.
Additionally, St. Joseph's has instituted an eFeed telemedicine program, for those patients who are not located near St. Joseph's.
"They (the patients) have this umbilical cord with the feeding center (eFeed computer linkage)," Mr. Roche said. "They come on screen at that (appointment) time. The child is in their (own) environment."
One of the judges for the Spirit of Excellence C.A.R.E.S. Award category noted, "The program at St. Joseph's could be a model for other hospitals."