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HealthInfo Canterbury

Tube feeding with a gastrostomy tube

This factsheet tells you how to care for your feeding tube and stoma (the artificial opening into your stomach) and how to take your feed and medications via your tube. Your nurse or dietitian needs to fill in parts of this factsheet.

What is a gastrostomy?

A gastrostomy is an artificial opening through your abdomen into your stomach. A feeding tube is inserted through the opening so that special liquid food (feed), medications and fluids can go directly into your stomach. Some feeding tubes go down into your jejunum, a part of your small intestine.

There are two types of gastrostomy tube, a PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) and a RIG (radiologically Inserted gastrostomy). These terms describe how the tube is fitted.

peg-rig-feeding-tubes

A – Feeding port. B – Flange. C – Clamp. D – Balloon inflation-deflation port.

You have a   _______________________________   tube.

There are two types of tube feeding, bolus feeding using a syringe, and pump feeding. Both types of feeding are described in the following sections. Your dietitian will decide which type of feeding is best for you.

Getting ready to tube feed

Important

Only put down your feeding tube:

Bolus feeding using a syringe

This is when you have a set amount of feed at specified times during the day. This is similar to having meals at meal times. Your dietitian will give you a bolus tube feeding plan with the details filled in.

  1. Collect all the equipment you'll need (a 60 mL syringe, a measuring and pouring jug, and your feed). Check the expiry date on the feed and shake it well before opening it.
  2. Wash your hands with warm soapy water.
  3. Close your feeding tube clamp, then open the cap at the end of your feeding tube (a RIG tube doesn't have a clamp).
  4. Remove the plunger from the syringe. Connect the syringe to your feeding tube.
  5. Hold the syringe upright and pour the prescribed amount of warm water into the syringe to flush the tube. Open the clamp on your feeding tube.
  6. Pour the prescribed amount of feed into the syringe. Allow the feed to flow into the feeding tube until it has gone. Close the clamp on your feeding tube.
  7. Pour the prescribed amount of warm water into the syringe to flush the tube. Open the clamp and flush the feeding tube.
  8. Close the clamp and disconnect the syringe.
  9. Close your feeding tube with the attached cap. 

Pump Feeding

Pump feeding uses a feeding pump that continuously delivers a set amount of feed through your feeding tube over a set amount of time. Your dietitian will give you a pump tube feeding plan with the details filled in.

Medications

The hospital pharmacist will review your medications before you go home to make sure you can take them through your feeding tube.

Caring for your equipment and feed

Caring for your feeding tube and stoma

Your stoma

Your feeding tube

RIG tube

If the flange (bumper) is at the same cm marking but further away from your skin than normal, this may mean that the balloon has deflated. If this happens, try to push the tube back into its original position and tape it down. Contact the PEG Nursing Service urgently (see below). The PEG tube doesn't have a balloon. It has a flange inside your stomach that keeps your feeding tube in the right position.

Tube Blockage

Your feeding tube may block if you don’t flush it regularly or you don’t take your medications correctly.

You can stop your tube from blocking by flushing the tube with warm water before and after each feed, before and after giving medications, and every three to four hours during continuous pump feeding.

If your tube blocks, try the following to try to clear the blockage:

Contact the PEG Nursing Service (see below) or your GP if you have:

Important

If your feeding tube comes out, your stoma will begin to close within two to three hours.

Contact the PEG Nursing Service immediately (see below). You may need to go to the hospital to have it put back in.

Caring for your mouth

Taking good care of your mouth is important, especially if you can't eat or drink.

Supplies and giving sets

For extra supplies such as syringes and dressings, contact the PEG Nursing Service (see below). If the nurse isn't available to take your call, leave your name, address, phone number and what supplies you need on the answerphone.

For giving sets, contact the PEG Nursing Service, your community dietitian or phone the Canterbury DHB Supply Department (see below).

Give as much notice as possible. Let them know if you can't collect the giving sets as they can courier them to you. There's no charge for giving sets or delivery.

If you're under the care of the Ashburton Hospital dietitians, phone the Ashburton Supply Department (see below). You'll need to collect your giving sets from the Supply Department.

Your hospital dietitian will organise your feed when you first go home. After this, your community dietitian will organise it. If you need to contact your feed supplier because your feed hasn't arrived, use the contact details below.

Contact details

PEG Nursing Service

Phone: 027-351-2474, or (03) 364-0640 ext. 88945

Hours: Monday to Friday, 7.30 am to 6 pm

For urgent help after hours, for example, if your tube falls out, phone Christchurch Hospital on (03) 364-0640 and ask to speak with the Gastro Nurse on call.

Canterbury DHB Supply Department

Phone: (03) 364-0082 or (03) 364-0080

Address: 211 Blenheim Rd

Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 am to 4 pm.

Ashburton Hospital Supply Department

Phone: (03) 307-8462

Address: Ashburton Hospital, Entrance D, 12 Elizabeth St, Ashburton

Hours: Monday to Friday, 10.30 am to 2.30 pm.

Feeding pump suppliers

For any concerns about your pump, use the following contact details:

Feed suppliers

Dietitians

Hospital dietitian:

 

 

Phone:

 

Community dietitian:

 

 

Phone:

 

Written by Nutrition & Dietetics and PEG Nursing Service, Canterbury DHB. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created July 2018.

Sources

Page reference: 482996

Review key: HITUB-482880