Gastrostomy tube feeding has been used since the 1980s for individuals with severe feeding and swallowing difficulties and allows nutrition to be given directly through the abdominal wall, into the gastric tract. Food and liquid are a necessary part of our daily life to survive, and for children with developmental disabilities in combination with feeding disorders, the need for gastrostomy tube feeding is often long termed. The activity of family mealtime has been shown to have an important impact on child health by providing an emotional climate supporting child development besides offer children primary learning opportunities for the development of communication, social interaction and other important skills. This PhD-project aims to describe the use of gastrostomy feeding tubes in Swedish children and to explore everyday mealtimes for these children in relation to “feeding”, “eating” and “mealtime” from the perspectives of health professionals, caregivers and children.

Project leader: Ellen Backman