Placing a feeding tube is a relatively simple surgery, but it is only recommended for complex conditions.
Tube feeding is a way to provide nutrition to people who cannot or will not eat and/or drink enough to keep their body healthy. Tube feeding is sometimes used on a short-term basis until a patient’s condition improves. Other times, it is a permanent method of feeding and is impossible to stop without resulting in malnutrition, dehydration, and the eventual death of a patient.
Tube feeding usually is given directly into the stomach or intestines (enteral tube feeding) or in some cases via a central vein, called parenteral tube feeding. Tube feeding is important to improve or maintain the health of some patients. Whether or not a patient is a candidate for tube feeding is a personal decision that involves the patient, family, and medical team..
Once a tube is placed, a special liquid formula is run through the tube and into the body. The tube-feeding formula contains a complete blend of nutrients. Extra liquid and medications are given through the tube. If the tube is attached to a pump, it runs continuously. If the feeding is given in a larger amount several times per day, it is known as a bolus feeding.
It is necessary to make a careful decision when deciding whether or not to use a feeding tube for the elderly or a chronically ill patient. Not every person who cannot or will not eat is a good candidate for tube feeding.
Tube feeding is ordered by a doctor and reviewed by a registered dietitian and others to make sure that the correct amount of nutrition (protein, calories, fluid, vitamins, and minerals) is provided. If needed, a special tube-feeding formula for diabetes, kidney disease, or lung disease is ordered. The patient’s weight, laboratory values, and bowel habits are monitored closely for tolerance to the tube feeding and adequate nutrition.
Brently is a fighter! He is a very strong-willed teenager who stops at nothing. This feeding tube is a set-back, but we keep on striving and thriving everyday to continue to make progress in all areas that need the most work. I am thankful for my son. He is L1 strong! He loves trying to help me insert the tubing and he loves to pull his tubie button out from time to time. We laugh it out because he thinks it funny. This is real life! If it wasn’t for this feeding tube, my child would not survive. It must be working great so far because he is 85lbs. and climing. Love my boy!