tube feeding

How To Effectively Help A Loved One With Tube Feeding

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What is tube feeding?

A medical device provides nutrition to your loved one who cannot get nutrition by mouth. That is unable to swallow safely or need nutritional supplementation.
Tube feeding becomes necessary when our loved ones suffer from various diseases. That prevented them from swallowing. It allows our loved ones to get their daily need of nutrients and medications through the tube. In some cases, our loved one may need partial tube feeding. But in severe cases, tube feeding would be the only option.
Tube feeding at home brings along a new set of challenges and responsibilities. It is pretty natural and obvious to have apprehensions the same. Ask your health care provider in case of any doubts so that you can do justice to your role as a caregiver.
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Facts about tube feeding

Tube feeding is not always a pleasant experience for our loved ones. We as caregivers should acknowledge this fact. And work towards making it an easy process for our loved ones. Here are certain facts that we as family caregivers and our loved ones should be aware of.
  • Maintaining tube feed hygiene is an important part of keeping our loved ones healthy. Wash and clean the tube several times a day. This is necessary to wash off all the remnants of feed in the tube. If not cleaned off properly, it can become a potential source of infection for our loved ones.
  • Tube feeding is not a painful process in itself. But, having the tube inside your body can really become painful. Imagine having a foreign body inside your body round the clock. It can become irritating and painful in the long run. In the process, granulated tissues gradually get deposited around the tube. This can cause intense pain during the movement of the abdominal muscles. These granulated tissues cannot be easily removed. And can make matters difficult during the tube feeding process.
  • What does tube feeding mean? In medical terms, tube feeding means enteral feeding.
  • Our loved ones with a tube inserted can take a bath regularly. However, caregivers should be careful while bathing them. Because if water gets inside the stomach, it can lead to infections.

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Ways to perfect your tube feeds

Once your loved one is back home and appears to be more adjusted with their feeding tube, you will want to offer them more flexibility with their feeds. Here are various ways to optimize tube feeds.

Continuous feeding

Give this type of feed slowly and gradually through the pump. Continuous feed requires a longer time as compared to the other types. There are 2 ways in which you can have continuous feeding. The first is a backpack with feed which you can have when you go out and carry your normal activities. Another way is to have an overnight feed, which can be either taken part or have the entire feed to gain more flexibility during the day hours.

Bolus feeding

In this type of feeding, you can give small feeds at intervals which usually takes lesser time. This helps you to take your meals even when you are outside. And also gives you the flexibility to plan your meals with your family members.

Combination feeding

This is the combination of continuous as well as bolus feeding. This is by far a much better method. As it helps meet the demands of your loved ones and also fits well in their daily schedule.
tube feeding

Feeding tubes does not mean the end of the world.

Many of us may think that having a feeding tube means “the end of the world.” However, this is not true. A feeding tube will allow you to create the function in a normal
way. Despite certain organ disabilities you are living with. This will affect all facets of your life. But it will still allow you to do your daily activities in a normal way. Let’s learn the art of living a normal life with a feeding tube.  Here is how:

  • Change your sleeping position. You will have to change your favorite sleeping position. For this, we need to teach our loved ones to either sleep on their back or the side.
  • Ask for help with daily activities. Normal activities can get difficult. The tube can actually come in the way of normal activities. We can help our loved one with their daily routine until they slowly get to adjust to the tube.
  • Traveling will be a bit different. Carry an extra feeding bag for traveling. If you want to travel by air, you must then get consent from the doctor.
  • Bathing and Pools can be a challenge. Take special precautions while bathing. And avoid all public pools to cut the risk of infection of any kind.


Call your health care provider.

Setting up a home tube feeding is not an easy task. It will bring along several challenges on the family caregiver, even more so when our loved ones show signs of discomfort or illness. Many times, there may be a problem with the tube itself. As it may get clogged due to certain formula feed, or the tube may appear to get bent. In such cases, trying to fix the problem at home is a good idea. But in more severe cases, you need to call your healthcare provider.
Our loved ones with tube feeding may show signs of infection or food intolerance. As caregivers, we need to be aware of these signs. Many changes may show an infection. And or any food intolerance includes the following. Also, check out this post on thick it.
  • The skin around the tube area has turned red in color and is warm to the touch.
  • There is more drainage than usual, and it has a foul smell.
  • There is a change in the color of drainage, and it is coffee-colored.
  • If there is a fever accompanied by vomiting and or nausea.
  • Sudden weight loss or rapid weight gain.
  • Your loved one may get constipated or may experience diarrhea.
  • Stomach pain or gets bloated and feels tight.


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Tube Feeding is not the end of the world but a new normal. By following the above tips and suggestions, you will be fine. If at any time, do not hesitate to call your doctor’s office for advice. It can be difficult to attend to your loved one with tube feeding, but it’s not impossible. With the right knowledge, you can do this. Don’t forget about taking care of yourself and keeping your business going while you are caregiving. I’m here to assist you on this journey. Schedule your planning session with me so we can look at how to keep your life and your business running smoothly.  Finally, if you would like to know how food can actually boost and benefit many illnesses, check out this article.


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