Which specialist consultations are beneficial to caregivers and infants with growth failure (failure to thrive)?

Updated: Nov 05, 2018
  • Author: Andrew P Sirotnak, MD; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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An interdisciplinary approach is vital in the assessment and care of infants and children with failure to thrive (FTT) and growth failure, especially when the cause is predominantly psychosocial. Even in cases where organic or medical causes are predominant, a coordinated team approach helps the family understand the diagnosis and care plan.

Consult a nutritionist early for evaluation of caloric needs, for anthropometric measurements, and for assistance with a dietary plan of care.

Involve developmental specialists early on to provide baseline assessment, monitor growth, and monitor for any delays and improvements over time.

Consulting a physical or occupational therapist may be necessary for patients with motor delays and weakness. A pediatric therapist who can assist with treatment plans can assess oromotor feeding skills. Most pediatric care facilities have oromotor skill therapists who provide this evaluation.

Mental health professionals, including social workers, behavioral-developmental pediatricians, psychiatric nurses and nurse practitioners, psychologists, and psychiatrists, are crucial in the evaluation of the family and child. They are also necessary to provide support for the caregiver and child. Parent education secondary to parenting skill assessment can offer valuable help and may be provided as well. In-home assessment is important to evaluate the environment, resources, and feeding interactions in the usual setting.

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