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Feeding Tubes for Dementia Patients: When and Which Ones?

Feeding Tubes for Dementia Patients: When and Which Ones?
Kevin Cleary

For anyone dealing with a loved one suffering from Alzheimer's or dementia, the further the disease advances, the tougher care decisions become. Advanced forms of dementia can require 24/7 care. Early on, medical choices for later care can be made with family members. The latter stages of these diseases require important decisions, and one of the toughest is deciding whether or not to insert a feeding tube for nutritional requirements. While it may seem cut and dry, it may not be appropriate for every dementia patient. We have all the information you need to make an informed decision on whether or not you want to choose a feeding tube.  

What Is a Feeding Tube?  

A dementia diagnosis comes with a potentially long and uncertain path ahead. As dementia progresses into the later stages, patients often develop difficulty swallowing or eating. This is when the decision to insert a feeding tube is required.  

Percutaneous endoscopic gastronomy (PEG) is a feeding tube that can be inserted in patients with dementia. This surgery connects a tube to the stomach through the abdomen, and nutritional liquid is pumped through the tube into the stomach. Often, patients with advanced Alzheimer's or dementia have a diminished ability to swallow, leading to aspiration pneumonia, as you can imagine…not a good diagnosis. Normally, antibiotics would be administered to deal with pneumonia, and an evaluation by a therapist will determine if the patient might want to consider a feeding tube.  

Yes or No… It's Not That Simple  

A dietitian or a speech therapist can determine if advanced dementia patients have diminished swallowing ability and possibly insufficient nutritional intake. It would be best to work with doctors, nurses, and therapists when making this decision.  

What factors should you consider when inserting a feeding tube or not? Some pros and cons include: 

Pros Cons
1) Minimizes risk of aspiration pneumonia 1) Can lead to diarrhea
2) Lower risk of choking 2) Potential of bedsores due to diarrhea
3) Minimize hunger 3) May cause stomach discomfort/gas
4) Delivers needed nutrition 4) Can lead to isolation
5) Caloric needs can be increased/decreased 5) Risk of infection of the tube area


The decision to insert a feeding tube or not is often thought of as "giving up on a loved one." Research has shown no statistical difference in life expectancy between those who have opted for a feeding tube and those without. If you opt for inserting a feeding tube, we can point to these great options: 

1. Kimberly-Clark Gastronomy Feeding Tube

One of the highest-rated feeding tubes on the market, this medical device provides enteral nutrition for patients who cannot take in food orally. Made from medical-grade low-profile silicone, the slim design allows for more air around the stoma site.

Buy Kimberly-Clark Gastrostomy Feeding Tube



2. Kimberly-Clark MIC Gastronomy Feeding Tube

Available for pediatric and adult patients, this medical-grade silicone feeding tube utilizes a tapered distal tip for easy insertion. Features include:  

  • Secur-Lok external retention ring  
  • Built-in medication port  
  • Luer-Lok balloon port for one-handed syringe connection  
  • Graduated centimeter markings 
Kimberly-Clark MIC Gastrostomy Feeding Tube



3. Kimberly-Clark MIC-KEY Bolus Extension Set

This accessory kit connects to the gastronomy tube to extend the length and administer feedings/medication. It offers either 12 or 24-inch extensions with a catheter tip. The clear tubing provides a low-profile design and is DEHP-free.

Buy Kimberly-Clark MIC-KEY Bolus Extension Set



4. Covidien Kendall Kangaroo Gastronomy Feeding Tubes with Y-Port  

Available in sizes ranging from 12FR-28FR and used as replacement tubes for administering nutrition and medications to the stomach. The replaceable Y-Port allows the user to change the port rather than the entire tube. Five reasons to consider this feeding tube include:  

  • Great for enteral feeding  
  • Medical-grade silicone tubing  
  • Gastric balloon for internal retention  
  • Graduated shaft 
Buy Kendall Kangaroo Gastrostomy Feeding Tubes with Y-Port



5. MIC-KEY 20FR Low-Profile Gastronomy Feeding Tube Kit 

Designed for visibility and drapability due to its medical-grade silicone. The inflatable silicone internal retention balloon minimizes patient trauma, making it a customer favorite.

MIC-KEY 20FR Low-Profile Gastrostomy Feeding Tube Kit



6. MIC-KEY 12FR Low-Profile Gastronomy Feeding Tube Kit

Available for stoma sizes ranging from 0.8 cm-4.0 cm, this feeding tube kit is designed to reduce the risk of dislodgment, making it easier to dress or move around without issue. This feeding tube is latex-free and less cumbersome than conventional gastronomy tubes, and it features a proximal anti-reflux valve.

Buy MIC-KEY 12FR Low-Profile Gastrostomy Feeding Tube kit



Where can you buy feeding tubes for dementia patients?

The decision to insert a feeding tube or not can be incredibly difficult and heartbreaking. Loved ones and caregivers often see the decision to bypass feeding tubes as giving up. The conclusion they need to make is whether or not a feeding tube increases life expectancy and quality of life. If you opt for a feeding tube, visit HPFY for all your feeding tube or PEG nutritional needs. Often, patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's or dementia make end-of-life decisions early on with the consultation of doctors and family members. A feeding tube may be one of those decisions.


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.

HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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