New to Tube Feeding | What You Need to Know
Is your healthcare provider recommending a feeding tube for you or your loved one? Although it may sound intimidating, do not be discouraged because you are not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of people in the US that depend on feeding tubes for various reasons. The transition can come with many obstacles; however, tube feeding is a safe way to receive the nutrients needed to live a happy, healthy life.
Becoming familiar with tube feeding is the first step in making confident decisions regarding the procedure. No matter what you decide, Sentido Health is here to help guide you by offering support, education, and resources that will help aid any of your valid questions and concerns.
What Is Tube Feeding?
Tube feeding, also known as “enteral nutrition”, is an alternative way to provide food if a person is unable to consume adequate nutrition through oral eating. It can be the sole source of nutrition or used in addition to oral eating. Enteral nutrition uses specialized formulas and is implemented directly to the stomach or intestines for digestion, depending on the type of tube. There are hundreds of health conditions that recommend feeding tubes, and people of all ages can receive them. Since everyone has different needs, you and your doctor will decide what is best for you or your loved one.
There are multiple medical terms used in tube feeding. View our Tube Feeding Terminology page to learn some common keywords.
What Are the Benefits & Risks of Tube Feeding?
It is important to discuss both the benefits and risks of enteral nutrition with your healthcare provider. Listed below are some common benefits and risks of tube feeding.
- An efficient and effective option for gaining needed nutrients
- Minimal complications
- Maintains GI mucosal barrier
- Reduces the risk of septic complications
- Improves healing, recovery, and weaning
- Stimulates blood flow within the intestines
- Variety of tube feeding options and formulas
- Reduced gut permeability
For more information regarding the many benefits of enteral nutrition, click HERE
- Skin rash or irritation around the insertion area
- Tube dislodgment or blockage
- Refeeding Syndrome
- Constipation or Diarrhea
Creating habits such as keeping a sanitized workspace, washing your hands, and properly cleaning equipment can help reduce these risks. If any of these symptoms do occur, consult with your healthcare provider and discuss treatment options for relief.
How Do I Transition to Tube Feeding?
Depending on the situation, tube feeding can be a short- or long-term solution. Your doctor will walk you through the procedure and refer you to a Durable Medical Equipment (DME) company for supplies. If you have any questions regarding stress-free monthly supply deliveries, feel free to reach out to us at Sentido Health.
It will take time to adjust to a different lifestyle. Scheduling regular mealtimes every 3-4 hours and engaging in table conversation can aid the adjustment. You can also keep a log to stay organized and track feeding tolerance. To get started, easily download this Tube Feeding Log.
If you are interested in more support and assistance, Sentido Health offers a HIvE (Health Intervention and Education) Enteral Nutrition Program. This program specifically helps families that are new to tube feeding by having dietitians and nurses guide you step-by-step from the hospital to your home. Our clinicians will provide education and weekly check-ups to ensure an easy, comfortable transition.
How Do I Find Support?
Finding the right support and connecting with others who have been through the same process is very important. Consider joining communities on social media such as Facebook groups, and utilize these 5 reliable e-resources to support you on your tube feeding journey:
It is also important to have a suitable DME company that delivers reliable medical supplies and has compassionate customer support. Sentido Health offers all this and more. If you are in need of a medical supply company at any time, we would love to be a part of your support system. Call or text 713.955.2123 to learn more.
Please note – This post does not provide professional medical advice and is intended for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor if you have any medical questions.