Safe Tube Feeding & Health Care Nutrition Supplement

Posted on 20 Nov 11:40

Practical & Safe Enteral Feeding:

Enteral feeding, or "Tube Feeding", is the delivery of nutrients through a tube to the stomach when the patient is unable to eat due to illness, difficulty in swallowing, decreased appetite, or following a surgery that prevents the patient from eating orally.  Shop PRO2Medical for large selections of enteral nutrition.

When enteral feeding is required it is important to increase awareness and knowledge of the simple steps needed to increase patient safety with the patient, family, and caregiver. Speak to your physician, nutritionist, and registered dietician concerning recommended nutritional products, patient needs, and tips prior to beginning the enteral feeding. Making safe enteral tubing Connections should be discussed including how improper connections occur and how to avoid them. Identify safety concerns associated with proper enteral tubing connections and identify safe enteral practices for safe enteral feeding at the patients bedside.  

Using an enteral feeding pump that features the innovative Safety Spike Plus™ pump set provides a nutrient delivery safe solution for enteral feeding. Tube feeding pumps that are designed to be incompatible with the luer lock, or IV connections, are designed to reduce the risk of accidental misconnections with infusion.

Tube feeding is often considered an safe procedure.  However blind placement of feeding tubes can cause serious complications.  While styleted small-bore tubes are most often associated with complications, large-bore unstyleted tubes are not without risk and safe practices must always be followed. 

Following over 2000 feeding tube insertions. a review revealed that many feeding tubes were not properly positioned in 1.3% to 3.2% of those insertions.  Also found that 28% of those improper insertions resulted in pneumonia or pneumothorax in those patients. 

Verification of enteral tube placement is always important and expected of the caregiver. 

Use a variety of bedside methods to predict tube location during the insertion procedure:

  • Observe for signs of respiratory distress.
  • Use capnography if available.
  • Measure pH of aspirate from tube if pH-strips are available.
  • Observe visual characteristics of aspirate from the tube.
  • Recognize that auscultatory (air bolus) and water bubbling methods are unreliable

Caregiver should check the tube location at 4-hour intervals after feeding is started.  Feeding tube dislocation during feedings is a frequent problem and must be monitored.  Many times the dislocation occurs when the tube is partially pulled out during movement or by an agitated patient.  Caregiver should observe for a change in length of the external portion of the feeding tube (as determined by movement of the marked portion of the tube).

Monitoring tube position at 4-hour intervals using a variety of bedside techniques ensures the tube is remaining in proper position for the patient.

PRO2Medical offers a large selection of tube feeding nutritional products such as Nestle Compleat. Compleat® is formulated with real food ingredients and soluble fiber to help support digestive health and normal bowel function.