Parent-delivered interventions used at home to improve eating, drinking and swallowing in children with neurodisability: the FEEDS mixed-methods study
Parr, J; Pennington, L; Taylor, H; et al.Craig, D; Morris, C; McConachie, H; Cadwgan, J; Sellers, D; Andrew, M; Smith, J; Garland, D; McColl, E; Buswell, C; Thomas, J; Colver, A
Date: 26 March 2021
Health Technology Assessment
NIHR Journals Library
BACKGROUND: Eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties are common in young children with neurodisability. These difficulties may lead to inadequate calorie intake, which affects a child's nutrition, growth and general physical health. OBJECTIVE: To examine which interventions are available that can be delivered at home by parents to ...
BACKGROUND: Eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties are common in young children with neurodisability. These difficulties may lead to inadequate calorie intake, which affects a child's nutrition, growth and general physical health. OBJECTIVE: To examine which interventions are available that can be delivered at home by parents to improve eating, drinking and swallowing in young children with neurodisability and are suitable for investigation in pragmatic trials. DESIGN: This was a mixed-methods study that included focus groups, surveys, an update of published systematic reviews of interventions, a systematic review of measurement properties of existing tools, evidence mapping, evidence synthesis, a Delphi survey and stakeholder workshops. SETTING: The study was carried out in NHS hospitals, community services, family homes and schools. PARTICIPANTS: Parents of children who had neurodisability and eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties. Professionals from health and education. Young people with eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties or young people who had previously experienced eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties. DATA SOURCES: Literature reviews; national surveys of parents and professionals; focus groups with parents, young people and professionals; and stakeholder consultation workshops. REVIEW METHODS: An update of published systematic reviews of interventions (searched July-August 2017), a mapping review (searched October 2017) and a systematic review of measurement properties using COnsensus-based Standards for the Selection of health status Measurement INstruments (COSMIN) methodology (searched May 2018). RESULTS: Significant limitations of the available research evidence regarding interventions and tools to measure outcomes were identified. A total of 947 people participated: 400 parents, 475 health professionals, 62 education professionals and 10 young people. The survey showed the wide range of interventions recommended by NHS health professionals, with parents and professionals reporting variability in the provision of these interventions. Parents and professionals considered 19 interventions as relevant because they modified eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties. Parents and professionals considered 10 outcomes as important to measure (including Nutrition, Growth and Health/safety); young people agreed that these were important outcomes. Stakeholder consultation workshops identified that project conclusions and recommendations made sense, were meaningful and were valued by parents and professionals. Parents and health professionals were positive about a proposed Focus on Early Eating, Drinking and Swallowing (FEEDS) toolkit of interventions that, through shared decision-making, could be recommended by health professionals and delivered by families. LIMITATIONS: The national surveys included large numbers of parents and professionals but, as expected, these were not representative of the UK population of parents of children with eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties. Owing to the limitations of research evidence, pragmatic decisions were made about interventions that might be included in future research and outcomes that might be measured. For instance, the reviews of research found only weak or poor evidence to support the effectiveness of interventions. The review of outcome measures found only limited low-level evidence about their psychometric properties. CONCLUSIONS: Opportunities and challenges for conducting clinical trials of the effectiveness of the FEEDS toolkit of interventions are described. Parents and professionals thought that implementation of the toolkit as part of usual NHS practice was appropriate. However, this would first require the toolkit to be operationalised through development as a complex intervention, taking account of constituent interventions, delivery strategies, implementation and manualisation. Subsequently, an evaluation of its clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness could be undertaken using appropriate research methods. FUTURE WORK: Initial steps include FEEDS toolkit development and evaluation of its use in clinical practice, and identification of the most robust methods to measure valued outcomes, such as Nutrition and Growth. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN10454425. FUNDING: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 25, No. 22. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.
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