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Using your Feeding Tube

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General feeding guidelines

Oley FoundationThe following guidelines are recommended by the Oley Foundation. For more information visit www.oley.org

 

 

Follow these general guidelines to ensure a safe and healthy feeding:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before you prepare your liquid food and before you touch your Entuit Thrive feeding tube.
  • The standard-profile Entuit Thrive feeding tube is marked in centimetres. Always check these marks before you feed in order to make sure that the tube has not moved.

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If your feeding tube is out of place, do not feed. Call your doctor right away and go to the Troubleshooting page for further precautions.

 

Stop feeding and call your doctor if you experience weakness, cramping, dizziness, heavy sweating, or a rapid heartbeat.

  • Sit up straight, if possible, while you feed and for one hour afterward. If you can’t sit up straight, raise your head at least 30 degrees during feeding. Do not lie down flat.
  • Do not pull on your feeding tube. Pulling on the feeding tube may damage tissue or may cause your feeding tube to come out or stop working.
  • Contact your doctor if you see fluid leaking around your feeding tube or around your stoma.

The feeding port is the opening in your feeding tube where you put liquid food. Before and after each feeding, use a catheter-tipped syringe that is filled with 30-50 mL of water to flush the feeding tube through the feeding port (unless your doctor tells you otherwise).

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Always be sure to use the correct port for feeding. (Click here for an illustration of the ports). If you put liquid food into the balloon port, your balloon may break or your feeding tube may fail.

How to check for leftover liquid food

Your doctor may tell you to check your stomach for leftover liquid food before each feeding to make sure that your stomach is getting rid of food from your previous feedings.

Use these supplies to check for leftover liquid food:

Follow these steps to check for leftover liquid food:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Fully depress the plunger on the catheter-tipped syringe.
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  4. Attach the catheter-tipped syringe to the feeding port of your feeding tube and pull back on the plunger. You may see some stomach fluid enter the syringe.
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  6. Pull back very gently on the plunger until you don’t see any stomach fluid.
  7. If the syringe becomes full, empty it into a clean container and repeat steps two and three until no more fluid comes out. Stop pulling back on the plunger immediately after fluid stops coming out.
  8. When no more fluid comes out, complete the steps that your doctor recommends.
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Always follow your doctor’s instructions when you check for leftover liquid food, and call your doctor if you see an unusual amount of liquid food. If the amount of liquid food is too great, your stomach may have problems. Your doctor may also give you special instructions to not use your feeding tube if you collect a certain amount of stomach fluid. Record your doctor’s instructions when you receive your feeding tube and refer to them as needed.

Instructions for bolus (syringe) feeding

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Bolus feeding is like eating several meals throughout the day. Your doctor will tell you how many times you should feed and how much food you should take in each bolus feeding.

Use these supplies to do a bolus feeding:

Follow these steps to do a bolus feeding:

  1. Check your doctor’s instructions for the kind of liquid food that you should use, the amount of food that you should take at each feeding, and the feeding rate that your doctor recommends.
  2. Flush your feeding tube with the catheter-tipped syringe, using the amount of water and the method that your doctor prescribed.
  3. Fill the catheter-tipped syringe with liquid food and attach it firmly to the feeding port of your feeding tube.
  4. Use the syringe to inject the liquid food into your feeding tube.
  5. (If your doctor gives you different instructions for flushing your feeding tube, you should follow them instead of the instructions in this step.) When you finish feeding, use a clean catheter-tipped syringe filled with 30-50 mL of water to flush the feeding tube through the feeding port.
  6. Rinse the syringe with warm water and let it air dry.

Instructions for continuous feeding

Continuous feeding happens at a slow, steady rate. You can use a pump or the gravity feeding method for continuous feeding.

Use these supplies to do a continuous feeding:

Follow these steps to do a continuous feeding:

  1. Check your doctor’s instructions for the kind of liquid food that you should use, the amount of food that you should take at each feeding, and the feeding rate that your doctor recommends.
  2. Flush your feeding tube with the catheter-tipped syringe, using the amount of water and the method that your doctor prescribed.
  3. Insert the tip of the filled pump feeding set or the filled gravity feeding set into the feeding port of the feeding tube.
  4. Make sure that the feeding set is properly connected to the pump or bag. Make sure that the clamp on the feeding set is open.
  5. For pump feeding, follow the pump manufacturer’s instructions to set the pump rate. Follow any special instructions that you recorded with your doctor when you received your feeding tube.
  6. Close the clamp on the feeding set when the pump or bag is almost empty. Put your prescribed amount of water in the pump or bag.
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Do not allow the liquid food to completely run out before you add water. If the liquid food runs out before you add water, air may enter your feeding tube and make you uncomfortable.

    1. Open the clamp on the feeding set. Re-check the pump rate to make sure that it’s set at the prescribed rate. Begin flushing.
    2. When you finish flushing, close the clamp on the feeding set. If you’re using a pump, turn off the pump.
    3. Disconnect the feeding set from the feeding port of your feeding tube.
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    Pump manufacturers may have different guidelines. Be sure to consult your pump manufacturer’s guide and ask your doctor for complete pump feeding instructions.

    Taking medicine

    Most medicine that can be taken through your mouth can be taken through your Entuit Thrive feeding tube as long as the medicine is in liquid form.

    • Always follow the instructions that were included with your medicine, and follow any special instructions that your doctor or pharmacist gives you.
    • If you take multiple medicines, take each medicine separately. After you take each medicine, flush your feeding tube with the amount of warm water that your doctor recommends.