What is Tube Feeding?
Tube feeding is a way of getting your body the nutrition it needs, and that too, in a liquid form. This liquid form of nutrition is delivered to your body through a very bendy and flexible tube. There are a number of tube feedings. They are low or high energy level requirements, with or without fiber feedings, high protein needs, and lactose (milk) intolerance. A number of different illnesses and conditions may necessitate tube feeding. To ensure sufficient nutrition, full-nutritional products are available, comprising the required amounts of energy, protein, vitamins, minerals, and micro-nutrients like calcium, iodine, and sodium.
How much to feed?
The amount of food and drink must be calculated on an individual basis. In order to make a plan for the tube feeding, it is advised to use the weight, height, age, activity level, and possible illness of the patient. In the beginning, a standard product can be used, typically fed six times a day. It is important to ensure correct mobilization. For bed-bound patients, this means that the headboard of the bed should be raised to an angle of 35-40 degrees during meals to prevent aspiration and ensure proper digestion. It is also important that the food is not administered too quickly. As a rule of thumb, the tube meal should last about the same time as a normal meal.
In cases where the standard products do not provide sufficient nutrition, cause allergy or there is a need for other dietary compositions, a wide variety of special products is available. Often, there might be a need for a product with a higher level of protein or liquid – or the patient may contract diarrhea, which necessitates a change of product. The range of special products comprises, among other products with enhanced protein, fat, low sodium, and products made from soya.
Tube feeding causes diarrhea in 10-25 percent of the patients. There are many different reasons for this complication, among others the use of antibiotics or laxatives. Insufficient hygiene is a frequent cause of diarrhea, and good hand hygiene is essential when handling feeding tubes and meals. If the defecation patterns suddenly change or if frequent diarrhea or constipation occurs, it is important to consider a change of product that is more suitable for the condition. It is always recommended to consult a doctor for a correct diagnosis of the problem.
Tube feeding has been in trend with the hospitals lately as it is very much useful for patients and has proved to be very beneficial.