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The Intestinal Rehabilitation Program at Children’s Mercy provides a comprehensive approach to caring for children of all ages with intestinal failure, including short bowel syndrome. Our care team will work together with you to create a customized care plan for your child’s unique needs.

Understanding intestinal failure


Intestinal failure occurs when the intestines are unable to properly digest food and absorb nutrients, fluids and electrolytes to promote normal growth and development. Intestinal failure has many different causes, including conditions present at birth, surgical removal of part of the intestine, and abnormal movement and absorption of nutrients in the intestine. Children with intestinal failure often require parenteral nutrition (provided by IV instead of by mouth) to promote growth.

Causes of intestinal failure


Short Bowel Syndrome

  • Gastroschisis
  • Intestinal atresia
  • Intestinal Trauma
  • Malrotation
  • Midgut Volvulus
  • Necrotizing Enterocolitis

Congenital Diarrhea of Infancy

  • Autoimmune Enteropathy
  • Microvillus Inclusion Disease
  • Tufting Enteropathy

Neurogastrointestinal Disorders

  • Hirschsprung disease
  • Intestinal Pseudo-obstruction

Mucosal Disease

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease


Symptoms of intestinal failure


  • Severe, chronic diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Electrolyte abnormalities
  • Weight loss or poor weight gain
  • Malnutrition


Intestinal Rehabilitation Team


Children’s Mercy has a dedicated intestinal rehabilitation team ready to provide excellent care for your child. Our team works together using innovative nutritional, medical and surgical treatments to enhance your child’s wellbeing. Our goal is to help your child receive oral and enteral (tube) feeds as much as possible to eliminate the need for parenteral (IV) nutrition.

During your appointment, you will see some or all of the following team members, depending on your child’s needs:

  • Pediatric gastroenterologist
  • Pediatric surgeon
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Nurse coordinator
  • Registered dietitian
  • Clinical pharmacist
  • Social worker

Your child may also need the expertise of other health care professionals to address special concerns related to oral feedings, taking medications, and integrating the medical care plan into the school day. These may include:

  • Child psychologist
  • Occupational/Speech feeding therapist

What to expect during your clinic visit


Our team will individualize each clinic visit based on your child’s specific needs. Clinic appointments are generally at least an hour in length. Visits are generally scheduled every one to six months based on your child’s needs.

Your child will have their height and weight checked and will have blood drawn from their central line if applicable.

Team members will meet with you to ask questions about your child’s nutrition, medications and symptoms. Before you go home, we will discuss your child’s lab results and the newly developed care plan and answer any questions you may have.

Contact us

For more information or questions, please call the Gastroenterology Clinic at (816) 234-3066.



The Oley Foundation - Information and support for people living with home intravenous nutrition and tube feeding.