Characterizing International Approaches to Weaning Children From Tube Feeding: A Scoping Review.

Approaches to tube weaning enterally fed children and evaluating outcomes vary widely. This limits the utility of research for identifying both “what works” and successful implementation of research outcomes. We used a qualitative scoping review methodology to examine internationally published research. Our primary aim was to identify the main philosophies underpinning intervention design and the main outcome variables used to demonstrate success of existing programs. This information can be used to inform future research design and clinical practice. Literature up until June 2019 was sourced via Medline, Scopus, Ovid, and CINHAL databases; hand searching; and gray literature using Google Advanced Search. Three predominant approaches to tube-weaning interventions were identified: behavioral, child- and family-centered, and biomedical. A wide range of intervention variables were identified, with the level of parental involvement and the use of hunger provocation varying between approaches. Our Review also confirms that there is no consistency in outcome measures used, limiting comparability between programs. We suggest that the role of parents in the weaning process and its impact on both the child and the parent/carer while transitioning from enteral to oral eating are insufficiently understood. We discuss these findings in the context of a suggested framework for future research.
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