How to Tube Feed without Electricity
Power outages can be a common occurrence and are either for a brief period or can be extended to days/weeks depending on the root cause of the outage. As someone who uses a feeding tube, or takes care of someone who does, it is important to understand how to tube feed without electricity. Three of the most common concerns during a power outage are:
1. Not having the ability to charge your feeding pump
2. Not having access to proper refrigeration for your formula
3. Not having access to an outlet for processing blenderized meals (if applicable)
To properly avoid missing feeds, and ensure both you and your Tubie are prepared to tube feed without electricity, have a set plan scheduled ahead of time. This plan will include having appropriate supplies that can be used without power and knowing proper feeding techniques. Doing so, you will be ready to act during a power outage to ensure you or your Tubie are getting an adequate source of nutrition while tube feeding without electricity.
Appropriate supplies to have on hand to Tube Feed without Electricity:
- Gravity feeding bags
- 60ml syringes (used for bolus feeds)
- Formula that does not need to be refrigerated and is “shelf-stable”
- Commercial blenderized meals (if applicable)
- Clean, sterile water (if you lose water source during power outages)
- Inverter or DC to AC car charger, to charge a pump in a vehicle
- Cooler/ pre-frozen ice packs to keep formula cold as long as possible
Tube feeding without electricity options include:
1. Gravity feeding:
Gravity feeding includes the use of a gravity bag. Gravity bags will slowly drip formula using the force of gravity. Remember you can control the rate of the feed by adjusting the roller wheel up and down. Gravity feeding is the best option for a Tubie that uses a GJ-Tube or does continuous feeds. To watch our video and read instructions on how to perform emergency gravity feeding click HERE.
** Note that a regular Infinity feeding bag can be transformed to a gravity bag in case of an emergency. Watch a short tutorial HERE on how this is accomplished.
2. By syringe:
Tubie’s can continue to receive bolus feeds as normal, you may have to adjust the amount of formula being pushed at a time if your Tubie is sensitive to this kind of feed. Although this option may take the most amount of time and patience, it will work during a power outage.
3. Running the regular feeding pump from a generator or car charger:
If you have access to an alternate source of power during a power outage, such as a generator or car charger link, make sure you follow all proper protocols in setting up and running this external power system to ensure safe feeds for you or your Tubie.
Notify External Sources/ Services:
Your power supply company is likely to have an alternate plan set in place for individuals who use life-supporting medical equipment. During a power outage, get in touch with your power company as soon as possible to quickly acquire the best plan of action to tube feed without electricity
If the root cause of the outage is due to something more extreme and is predicted to last days/ weeks, you should notify your local fire department or paramedics to make them aware of your situation ahead of time in case of an emergency.