Home Parenteral Nutrition (HPN) Program
Who we are
The Home Parenteral Nutrition (HPN) Program at Boston Children's Hospital cares for infants, children, and adolescents with intestinal failure who require intravenous (IV) or parenteral nutrition (PN) and hydration support at home.
For various reasons, the intestines of some children are unable to digest food and provide the nutrition needed to live and grow. PN is a method of providing this nutrition intravenously through a central or PICC line when a child cannot take food by mouth or by enterally (through a feeding tube). The nutrients bypass the normal digestive system and enter the child directly through a thin tube inserted into a vein. Read more about home parental nutrition and frequently asked questions.
Our multidisciplinary team brings together experts who specialize in the care of children on IV nutrition, including gastroenterologists, a pediatric nurse coordinator, a pediatric nurse practitioner, an intestinal failure dietitian, and dedicated parenteral nutrition pharmacists.
Our staff will also work closely with your child’s pediatrician and other doctors to ensure the best care possible.
Established in 1980, our program is the nation’s leading referral center for children who require intravenous nutrition. We have already taken care of more than 400 infants, children and adolescents from around the world with medical and surgical problems that keep them from taking in nutrition internally.
We work closely with Children's Center for Advanced Intestinal Rehabilitation (CAIR), Center for Motility and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, Intestine and Multivisceral Transplant Program, the Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center, and other centers and programs to offer a comprehensive set of services for children on home parenteral nutrition and their families and caregivers, including:
- Comprehensive inpatient and outpatient consultations
- Advanced diagnostic testing
- Individualized nutrition plans
- Consultation regarding feeding tube placement
- Coordination of nursing and infusion services at home
- Family and patient support and guidance
- On-call consultation with a program staff member 24 hours per day, seven days per week
We offer dedicated HPN Program outpatient visits every Monday afternoon on the 5th floor of the hospital’s Fegan building. We also provide consultations in conjunction as part of the CAIR program every Thursday afternoon on Fegan 3.
Our mission is to improve the quality of life for children and families while at the same time helping to improve their nutritional status and overall function. Though complex, with proper care management and close collaboration between your child’s care providers (e.g., home nurses, home care resources, pediatrician, etc.), we aim to provide care maximally outside the hospital addressing all of your child’s needs.
Life with total parenteral nutrition
Peter was born with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in his liver, meaning his veins and arteries weren’t connected properly. When he was just seven months old, the AVM completely disrupted the blood flow to his liver and small intestine, causing multiple holes in his small intestine. He became gravely ill after that. Peter receives all his nutrients intravenously (IV), through a medication called total parenteral nutrition (TPN). In this blog, Peter's mother describes a typically day caring for Peter.