Getting Started in the Dietary Treatment Program

If your child is not currently a patient at CHOP, but you are considering dietary treatment in our program, you will need a second opinion from a CHOP epileptologist. Please call 215-590-1719 to arrange an appointment. If your child is already followed by a CHOP neurologist, please discuss your interest in this treatment with her.

Before beginning dietary treatment

Before starting dietary treatment, you’ll attend an educational class. Offered on a monthly basis, the six-hour class is designed to introduce new families to the diets and services available through the Dietary Treatment Program. Please call our coordinator, Caroline Conroy at 215-590-1719 or email to register for the class.

During this class, you will learn all of the steps you’ll need to take to prepare for dietary treatment. You will meet all the members of CHOP Dietary Treatment team, as well as have the chance to speak with a family with a child treated in our program.

Children are typically admitted to start the ketogenic diet about two months after completing the class.

Preparing for dietary treatment

The first step after attending the six-hour educational class is to decide if you and your family want to pursue a dietary therapy for your child. Once you have made your decision, please call us at 215-590-1719 to discuss next steps.

Before starting treatment, we will:

  • Review your child’s medical records to determine if any additional blood work needs to be completed
  • Provide prescriptions for a glucometer and other supplies needed for blood and urine testing
  • Give you instructions for purchasing a gram food scale and how to record a 3-day weighed dietary record of your child’s food and liquid intake

We will ask you to:

  • Provide us with a detailed list of all your child’s medications.
  • Keep a seizure record for a minimum of 28 days, marking all of your child’s seizure types and frequency. If you do not know what kind of seizures your child has, a video EEG may be ordered by your neurologist.

Please fax this information to us at 215-590-2950.

After these initial steps are complete and we’ve received your records, one of our nurses will contact you to discuss next steps for getting started on the dietary treatment.

For gradual initiation of the ketogenic diet, your child will be admitted to the hospital. Initiation of the modified ketogenic diet (also known as the modified Atkins diet) or the low glycemic index treatment (LGIT), can be done on an outpatient basis.

You will be asked to make a pre-diet appointment to see the dietary treatment team (nurse and dietitian) in the outpatient Neurology clinic at least two weeks before starting dietary therapies.