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inpatient nutrition care

Every child admitted to Dayton Children’s will be screened for possible nutrition risks. We know that the nutritional wellness of a child can play a major role in many conditions along with healing and recovery. We want to make sure we are providing the care and addressing your child’s nutrition needs.

A registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) may become a part of your child’s care team in the hospital in one of these ways:

nutrition screen

A nutrition screening will be completed by a nurse. A dietitian will review each child’s nutrition screen. If the screen indicates possible nutrition risk, a dietitian will want to learn more about your child’s current and prior nutrition. Common types of nutrition risk identified are growth concerns, inadequate nutrition, special diets, or nutrition support (tube feeding or intravenous nutrition). The dietitian will work with you, your child, and the medical team to develop a nutrition care plan that is the right fit for your child.


A provider may also consult a dietitian due to a nutrition concern. Common reasons for consults include education, nutrition counseling, or inadequate nutrition intake during the hospital stay. In this case, a dietitian will also work with you, your child, and the medical team to develop a nutrition care plan that is the right fit for your child.


Dietitians round with the medical teams on many of the inpatient units. Examples include the pediatric intensive care unit, neonatal intensive care unit, hematology/oncology unit, and transitional care unit dietitians. During rounds, the dietitian may identify new nutrition risks and will be an advocate to ensure your child receives the right nutrition. Other ways the dietitian may help your child include: collaborating with your child’s team to address fluids, electrolytes, vitamin and mineral needs, nutrition-related labs, nutrition-related medications, growth measurements, feeding tolerance, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.

specialty care

Children receiving care in some specialty areas have already established care with a dietitian specializing in a certain area of pediatric nutrition. Examples include oncology, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, nephrology, ketogenic diets for seizures, and metabolic disorders. Often, the primary specialty dietitian will see these children or young adults when they are in the hospital or in clinic.

parent request

You or your child may request to speak to a pediatric dietitian at any point during your admission. Simply ask your nurse to call the unit dietitian, or request a dietitian consult from your provider. We are on your team and want to help optimize your child’s nutrition!

outpatient referral

The inpatient dietitian or medical team may recommend outpatient follow-up for ongoing nutrition concerns after discharge from the hospital. Common examples include poor nutrition intake during the hospital, growth concerns, new special diet needs, nutrient deficiencies, disordered eating, or nutrition support (tube feeding or intravenous nutrition). A patient or family/caregiver may also request an outpatient referral to establish nutrition care after discharge.


room service

Patients staying at Dayton Children’s have access to nutritional and kid-friendly food through room service from 7:00 am to 6:30 pm. Our goal is to deliver meals within 30 minutes of ordering every time. Meals can be ordered on the patient’s television via a program called GetWellNetwork, which includes pictures of foods and beverages available, or via phone.

Breastfeeding moms are able to receive free hot meals, and we have a guest tray program, which offers some complementary meals.

We will also work to make nutritional accommodations for patients who have an extended stay and special nutrition needs.

Please note that Dayton Children’s is a sugar-sweetened beverage free facility and these drinks are not sold in our cafeteria or able to be ordered for room service.

Find more information here.

clinical nutrition lab

This state-of-the-art laboratory stores and prepares feedings for our patients receiving breast milk, donor milk, and specialized formulas. The clinical nutrition lab technicians prioritize safety and accuracy and work closely with dietitians, nurses, parents, and medical providers to provide just the right feeding in the just the right amount for our patients. The technicians use precise, metric calculations and measurements in a carefully sanitized room to ensure diet orders meet the individualized needs of ill patients.

Click here to learn more about Dayton Children’s breast milk programs. 

contact us

If you have questions about our nutrition therapy program please email us. If you are currently inpatient please ask a nurse if you want to speak to a dietitian.