The GIFT program provides lifesaving care for infants with intestinal failure. Dr. Paul Wales started the GIFT program at SickKids in November 2002, after realizing that advanced clinical care for intestinal failure was desperately needed. Before GIFT was developed, care for patients with intestinal failure was fragmented and often unsuccessful – the mortality rate ranged from 40 – 80 per cent.
GIFT patients are predominantly premature babies who suffer from birth defects or other diseases of the intestine, leaving them with a gut that is unable to digest and absorb adequate nutrients for survival. As a result, these complex patients are dependent on intravenous nutrition. The program has since become incredibly successful, reducing the overall mortality rate to 5 per cent. Over the last 13 years, the GIFT team has built a stable infrastructure and consolidated medical experience of a rare problem, ensuring continuity of care and creating expertise. GIFT is the only formal paediatric intestinal failure program in Canada, with 20 – 25 new patients referred each year from across the country.
The success of the GIFT program was built on a multidisciplinary team represented by general surgery, gastroenterology, neonatology, transplantation and allied health professionals such as dietitians, occupational and physiotherapy, social work, speech and language pathology, clinical psychology and child life. Dr. Wales emphasizes that the success of the program is thanks to the entire team: “We laugh together, we support each other, and we learn from each other every day. I’m intensely proud of the program and the team.” Today, GIFT is internationally renowned. Team members publish widely in the field and are often invited to give academic talks about the team’s success in clinical care and ongoing research.
Your support will enable the GIFT Team to continue to provide best-in-class care to these children who, before the GIFT program was established, may not have survived.
HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF THESE INSPIRING KIDS