Kartini Clinic has a new home, and we are excited for a number of reasons. For starters, this time around we were able to design our units especially for our kids; they’re full of light and air and space to do art, a new classroom, a roof deck, not to mention our very own commercial kitchen - designed to provide space for parent cooking class as well - from which we serve all of our meals. Our food is sourced from the neighborhood’s New Season’s Market, conveniently located across the street. As always, the kids eat with their therapists in a round table, family-style setting.

Another thing our new clinic has allowed us to do is to be more creative in treating children 6 years of age and older who need nasogastric tube feeding, such as those with food phobia and failure to thrive of unknown cause.  This allows us, in most cases, to take treatment of food phobia out of a hospital and into a day treatment setting, making the whole experience much less unpleasant and more family-oriented.  Rather than wait for titration of medication, re-feeding via NG tube, anxiety reduction, etc., all while tethered to a hospital bed (as described in a previous blog) we are now able to have these children with our treatment staff, who are the most experienced staff in the country working with this diagnosis. Rather than being in a hospital, these children are playing and interacting with the other kids, doing art projects and keeping up with their school work.

The first children to trial this modified protocol will be admitted over the next few weeks.  The protocol itself has been virtually 100% successful for children with food phobia (again see my previous blog); our challenge now will be to make it even more family-centered and less traumatic for child and family. How grateful we are for a new and lovely space to help us make this possible!

Last but not least, another serendipitous event is presence in our building of a tiny vegetarian take-out restaurant called Whole Bowl (well known to Portland locals as a food cart), which can serve our busy families as emergency meals when they are on the go, picking up and dropping off the kids for treatment. The food is a rice and beans based vegetarian single bowl meal which, when ordered in the vegetarian (but not vegan), fully loaded “Bambino” size, with the addition of a piece of fruit meets our requirements for a Kartini Meal Plan compatible lunch.  The fully loaded, larger bowl, with a two cup salad with dressing and a glass of whole milk added at home, is a Kartini Meal Plan compatible dinner.

And of course we remain within walking distance of our treasured Ronald McDonald House, a location essential for families from across the state or nation.  Randall Children’s Hospital is also still only a few blocks away, and available 24-7 for patients whose medical condition requires initial inpatient care. And, as always, Kartini staff -- doctors and therapists -- take care of our own patients whenever they are at Randall’s.