“Fueling Life”– what is tube feeding?
A feeding tube is a medical tool used to assist patients that can not consume their complete nutrients orally. There are serveral types of feeding tubes, each with it’s own special specifications and indications. It all depends on the patient’s needs and conditions.
When we talk about patients/people that require feeding tubes, what comes to minds usually are those patients that are at the last stages of their lives. But, thats is completely wrong. Feeding tubes can be used for new born babies (immature) all the way to the bedridden 100 years old folks. The duration of which these tubes are kept in the body, are either short term or long term, again all depending on the condition of the patient.
Some conditions are:
- Disease or illness .
- Sever pain or difficulty during swallowing .
- Severe food allergies.
- Physical disability.
- Brain injuries.
Types of feeding tubes:
- Nasogastric tube: it is a tube that is inserted into the nose down to the thraot and into the stomach. Can be used for feeding, medications, and also to empty the stomach. Of course the placement of the tube should be checked before each feeding.
- Nasoduodenal tube: which is similar to the nasogastric tube, except it goes all the way through to the first part of the small intestines, the duodenum. It is usually used when the patient is at risk for aspiration.
- Nasojejunal tube: again similar to the two previous tubes, except this one goes further into the small intestine; the jejunum. Usually used for patients that have chronic vomiting, or patients that aspirate food contents into the lungs.
- Gastrostomy tube: this tube requires surgical intervention for insertion. A hole called a stoma is made into the stomach. Into the stoma a tube is inserted with a ball that fills with water for securing placement.
- Jejunostomy: also requires a surgical procedure, the stoma is all the way to the jejunum.
How to give the feed:
In most cases patients with these tubes are hospitalized. In that case, there should be any worries.As the patient is surrounded by medical personnel that are solely responsible for ensuring the placement, and the functional status ofbthe tubes. And the correct feed and feeding method. And also the right way to feed. The feed could be continuous on a feeding pump, or every certain amount of hours that could be programmed on the feeding pump. Also, can be given as a bolus push. The classification and brand of feed is determined by the dietitian.
In the case of the patient uses one these feeding tubes at home, education is the most important part. And this is where the nurse plays an important part in educating the patient or the care giver. Before starting starting to educate the patient and the family and even before the insertion of the tubes, the patient must understand what’s happening. It is very important that the patient him self knows about the procedure and the purpose of it. The patient and family have to accept the change of life style that they will encounter.
What are some important health education that the patient needs to know?
- The patient/family needs to know the importance of feeding and nutrition it self, and the consequences of deprivation of food and nutrients.
- Takeing care of the tube and handling it. Of course the education will be given according to the tube inserted.
- Keeping the tube and area clean all the time.
- Washing hands before and after handing.
- Knowing how to keep the tube secured, and what to do if the tube is dislodged .
- Learning about the feed being used and the proper way to administer it( feed pump, syringe pump, bolus)
- Knowing how to administer medicine through them
- If a feeding pump is used, the patient/family must know how to operate it.
- To report any kind of pain, or discharge like pus or even leakage from the site.
*, N. (2013, November 1). Types of feeding tubes and terms to know by the feeding tube awareness foundation. Retrieved February 8, 2017, from https://globalgenes.org/raredaily/types-of-feeding-tubes-and-terms-to-know-by-the-feeding-tube-awareness-foundation/
Retrieved February 8, 2017, from http://www.nhs.uk/ipgmedia/National/Macmillan%20Cancer%20Support/assets/Nutritionalsupport(artificialfeeding)(CB7pages).pdf