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.
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.
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:
|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:
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.
Available for pediatric and adult patients, this medical-grade silicone feeding tube utilizes a tapered distal tip for easy insertion. Features include:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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, ...
When traditional oral intake is not feasible, enteral feeding comes into play. It supports nutritional needs of individuals recovering from an injury or surgery. Dive into this informative article and learn what, when, why, and how of enteral feeding and ensure optimal patient care.
Looking for a non-invasive option to manage carpal tunnel symptoms? Experience relief from constant tingling and pain with this Carpal Solution Wrist Support. Read this article to know about the unique features and benefits of this wrist support brace designed to deal with CTS and find why it is one of the most reliable wrist braces available on the market.
Need an effective and affordable nebulizer? Look no further, in this article we offer 5 of our best reviewed nebulizers that are loved by our customers. Click to read more and find the perfect nebulizer for all your respiratory needs.
Worried about nighttime leaks? Say goodbye to leakage with our ten best overnight adult diapers and wake up refreshed and dry.
Neck pain can wreak havoc on your otherwise healthy life. Traction device improves your cervical health and overall well-being. Read more to find our best cervical traction devices designed to curb the stiffness and discomfort of cervical muscles.