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What is Enteral Feeding?

Enteral feeding is the procedure used to feed people with devices are designed to improve the quality of life of patients and non-patients who have a normal functioning gastrointestinal tract but require assisted nutrition delivery or feeding because of their inability to chew, drink or swallow the normal way. It may also be needed for patients with motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic neurological or mechanical dysphagia, or gut dysfunction. At HPFY we offer a complete line of feeding tubes for the elderly, neonates, and infants to help them live a normal lifestyle. Our enteral feeding supplies includes enteral nutrition, feeding tubes, and enteral pumps. They ensure patient safety and accurate delivery of nutrition.

Who needs Enteral Feeding?

A person with a condition or injury that makes eating normally, i.e., via mouth difficult, but has a properly functioning GI tract, may be fed via a tube. Tube feeding allows them to receive nutrition and keep their GI tract healthy. Enteral feeding is used as a supplement. However, often it makes up their total caloric intake. The use of enteral feeding does not perturb the quality of your life. In fact, a person experiences improvement in their quality of life with feeding tube as it helps them fight malnourishment. 

What conditions may make Enteral Nutrition necessary?

Tube feeding becomes necessary if one can't eat enough calories to meet their nutritional needs. Deficiency in calories is often caused due to the lack of physical intake of food or increased caloric requirement, which is not met by eating alone. Treating malnourishment is essential since malnutrition can adversely affect lung function by decreasing the respiratory muscle strength, and ventilatory capacity, and impairing immune function. A person incapable of eating food by mouth may be provided tube feeding, they may be put on temporary feeding tubes or may have to use this method for a long duration, depending on their condition. Conditions that may require enteral tube nutrition are -

What are the Benefits of Tube Feeding?

5 Benefits of Enteral Feeding

Types of Enteral Feeding Tubes

The selection of an enteral tube is based on the duration of feed and the enteral formula the patient needs. There are varying kinds of feeding tubes and you can select the one you need depending on the size and type. Our products are ideal for home enteral feeding.

These feed tubes, manufactured with premium grade material are designed to prevent kinking and collapse during aspiration of stomach contents. HPFY also offers feed tube kits for simultaneous jejuna feeding and gastric decompression.

Types of tube feeding methods

1. Bolus Feeding

Feeding using the bolus method involves the delivery of formula using a syringe. To begin the process, the enteral formula is first taken in a specially manufactured syringe for feeding tube and pushed into the feed tube with the plunger. Bolus tube feedings are mostly given every 4-6 hours throughout the waking hours. Individuals who can tolerate the normal amount of food at one time can be given bolus feeding.

How to do Bolus Feeding?

2. Gravity Feeding

The feeding formula is delivered using a feeding bag without a pump in the gravity feeding method. The feeding bag is filled with the formula, and it flows from the bag into the feeding tube by the force of gravity alone. It can take up to 60 minutes to complete.

How to Gravity Feed a person?

  • Flush the feeding tube.
  • Close the clamp on the feeding bag and pour the prescribed dose of liquid food.
  • Close the feeding bag and hang it on the IV pole.
  • Attach the end of the gravity bag to the feeding tube.
  • Unclamp the feeding tube to allow the formula to flow.
  • The flow can be adjusted using a regulator clamp.
  • Once the feeding is complete, rinse the feed bag and flush the feeding tube.

Enteral Feeding Hygiene: Word of Advice!

It is highly recommended to replace the feeding bag every 24 hours to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination and tubal infection.


3. Pump Feeding

Pump feeding, also known as continuous tube feeding, is generally used for patients who cannot tolerate a larger meal at one time. The formula is filled in a feeding bag and pumped at a prescribed dose and rate.

How do you Pump Feed?

Enteral Tube Feeding FAQ - What Should You Know?

1. Do you need a prescription for tube feeding?

Yes, a doctor will diagnose the need for a feeding tube and the duration of the treatment. A doctor will also prescribe the feeding tube type and enteral nutrition used.

2. How to measure feeding tube size?

Feeding tube sizing is based on the French units (Fr). 1 French unit equals 0.33 mm, so to figure the diameter around the feeding tube, divide the French size by 3. D (mm) = Fr/3 or Fr = D (mm) × 3.12 Fr would have a diameter of 4 mm. The Fr size correlates to the exterior diameter of the tube and not the diameter of the inside channel.

3. What are the signs of feeding tube intolerance?

One of the early and grave issues faced with tube feeding is feeding intolerance. Enteral feeding intolerance may manifest as vomiting, diarrhea, hives or rashes, retching, constipation, frequent burping, gas bloating, or abdominal pain. It is always good to consult your doctor before opting for tube feeding.

4. Is a feeding tube painful?

A feeding tube may be uncomfortable or painful initially. It takes time to get used to a feed tube and make it a part of your everyday lifestyle. However, with time it gets better. Patients with feed tubes need not sacrifice their normal life; they can do most things, like going out to restaurants, having sex, and exercising.

5. Is it a good idea to put your loved one on a feeding tube?

Feeding tubes for elderly are considered an efficient way of ensuring that the person gets adequate nutrition during their treatment. However, enteral feeding is a major feeding alternative. Therefore, it is advised to discuss the procedure thoroughly with a doctor.

6. What is aspiration in tube feeding?

Aspiration is the entrance of liquid or food into the airway instead of the esophagus (the tube that carries food from mouth to stomach). When aspiration occurs while eating, drinking, or tube feeding, the patient may throw up or have heartburn. Signs of aspiration may include -

7. How do you choose enteral nutrition?

One might want to consider the nutritional needs, physical assessment, GI functioning, and overall medical situation of a person, inclusive of the medical history and metabolic abnormalities and goals for the patient. A doctor is the best person to choose enteral nutrition for the patient.

8. What is a nutrition prescription?

Nutrition Prescription refers to the individual's recommended dietary and energy intake, selected foods or nutrients required, and the person's health and nutrition diagnosis.

9. What is enteral feeding for Chronic Bronchitis?

Pulmonary enteral nutrition products consist of low carbohydrate and balanced fat profile for better tolerance and to offer complete nutrition for pulmonary patients. These enteral feeding formulas are given to patients with COPD or Asthma, chronic bronchitis, and other pulmonary ailments to prevent them from malnourishment.

10. What is the difference between Enteral and Parenteral Nutrition?

The terms enteral and parenteral look and sound alike; however, they mean very different things in reality. The difference between parenteral and enteral lies in the location where the nutrition is processed. Enteral feeding resorts to the liquid food processed by the GI tract. Patients prescribed enteral feeding consume their meals via a tube connecting to their stomach or small intestine. This type of feeding provides supplemental nutrition and is often responsible for the patient's total caloric intake. Parenteral feeding refers to the liquid food processed through the veins. Patients are fed parenterally while recovering from surgery or other medical procedures for both the short and long-term.

Where to buy Enteral Feeding Supplies Online?

Health Products For You is online since 2002 to cater to all your nutritional and health needs. We offer a wide range of tube feeding supplies such as enteral feeding bags, feeding pumps, feeding tubes, enteral tubings, connectors, and enteral syringes, to name a few at the most affordable prices. These feeding supplies are manufactured by the leading names of the industry such as Avanos Medical, MicKey, Medline Industries, and Nestle Nutrition. Place your order with us today and earn reward dollars on every purchase. You can use these reward dollars on your next order.

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Frequently asked questions

People are tube-fed because they cannot eat enough ordinary food to get the nutrition and fluids they need.

It is not advisable to syringe pureed food through enteral feeding tube. The feeding tubes are not designed to accommodate this and become blocked more frequently, even if you ensure that all lumps are removed before you syringe the pureed foods through, the texture of pureed food is also different to that of the feed and will form a layer on the inside of the tube, which overtime will result in blockages. You must remember that whilst the feed is essentially liquid food, it is far more specific than that. A great deal of time and expense has gone in to the manufacture of these feeds to facilitate that the nutrients are delivered in a form that is easy and effectively digested. A lot of evidence show that the processing of pureeing foods, can reduce the number of vitamins and minerals available for absorption, meaning he/she does not get everything that you think you are giving them and that they need.

Enteral feeds are supplied into the digestive tract (stomach or small intestine) and therefore the normal mechanisms that are triggered within the tract when eating will also take place during enteral feeding. The feeling of satiety "feeling full" is the result of distension in the stomach and intestine, as a result of the introduction of solids (food). However, this distention is also shown to occur when enteral feeds are administered, thus producing a feeling of satiety.

The placement depends upon your condition and the expected duration of your needs for enteral feeding. For individuals with a fully functioning stomach, it may be possible to administer the feed directly into the stomach, otherwise the stomach can be bypassed completely and the feed delivered directly into a part of the small intestine. For short term use a tube is passed up the nose and fed down into the stomach, duodenum or jejunum, these are known as naso-gastric (NG), naso-duodenal (ND) or naso jejunal (NJ). For longer term treatment a surgically implanted tube is placed through the abdominal wall, known as a gastrostomy (into the stomach) or jejunostomy (into the jejunum).

The rate of administering the feed is changeable, but it is not advisable to change this rate without consulting your nutrition expert or doctor.