FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are the different types of enteral feeding?
Enteral feeding is used when a patient has a functional gastrointestinal tract but is unable to take in food the traditional way. Whether due to illness or an accident, some patients are rendered unable to orally ingest the necessary nutrients they need to survive. Enteral feeding supplies provide these patients with basic nutrition. There are five types of enteral feeding options: nasogastric tubes, nasojejunal tube (NJT), jejunostomy tubes, radiologically inserted gastrostomy tube (RIG), and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tubes (PEG). Tube feeding through any of these types of tubes will ensure a patient who is incapable of consuming the nutrients and calories they need receives adequate nutrition to stay alive and well.
How does one clean a G-Tube?
Before cleaning or unblocking a feeding tube, make sure to wash your hands well with warm, soapy water to rid them of bacteria. A G-tube is normally held in place with a G-tube holder. To unclog a blocked tube, remove it from the holder and prep a 30mL or 60mL piston syringe. Pull back until the blockage is sucked out. To clean the tube, fill a flush syringe with warm water and push the water through the unattached tube. Once the tube has been washed thoroughly with warm water, you may reattach it so the patient can resume feeding. Be sure to place it back in the holder to help prevent blockages in the future.
What is a feeding tube?
A feeding tube is part of a feeding tube kit that is used to aid patients who are unable to orally take in the necessary amount of food for survival. If the gastrointestinal tract is still fully functional but the patient cannot eat or is refusing food, feeding tubes are the best way to keep them nourished. Enteral feeding supplies are used to support the nutrition of patients who cannot eat or swallow safely. Patients may need enteral feeding for a short period of recovery or as part of end-of-life treatment. A feeding tube will send nutrients directly into the gastrointestinal tract, where it will continue the normal digestion process.
What is a gastrostomy tube?
A gastrostomy tube, also commonly referred to as a G-tube, is a feeding tube inserted into the belly to bring nutrition directly into the stomach. Gastrostomy tube feeding can help patients who are too ill to eat normally maintain a healthy level of nutrition. Generally, a G-tube is inserted by a surgeon during a procedure known as gastrostomy. The tube is inserted through the wall of the abdomen, directly into the stomach. It can be used to administer food, liquid, and even medication. A G-tube holder will keep the device in place to ensure the patient is fed normally and the tube avoids blockage.
Is a feeding tube considered life support?
The use of enteral feeding supplies are not necessarily a sign of end-of-life care and alone, do not qualify as life support. Enteral feeding can be used during a recovery period for patients who have undergone surgery or suffered from an accident or complication of a disease. It can be a temporary measure. Life support refers to medical equipment that keeps vital organs running, like the heart and lungs. While enteral feeding may be an element of life support in some cases, tube feeding alone is not a method of life support.
How long can you live on a feeding tube?
Whether gastrostomy tube feeding or another type of feeding tube is prescribed, enteral feeding is a temporary solution. People can survive on a feeding tube for months to several years, but it is not something that can be sustained long-term. This is simply because nutrition alone is not going to keep a patient alive. If they are suffering from an ailment, enteral feeding may help them live more comfortably but it will not stop the disease from degenerating. This is a temporary form of patient care designed to keep the recipient alive until they either succumb to their illnesses or recover from their illnesses and regain normal eating functionality.
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