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HealthInfo Canterbury

Tube feeding with a nasogastric or nasojejunal tube

This factsheet tells you how to care for your feeding tube and how to take your feed and medications via your tube. Your dietitian needs to fill in parts of this factsheet.

What is a nasogastric (NG) or nasojejunal (NJ) tube?

This a tube that goes through your nose and into your stomach (NG) or jejunum, a part of your small intestine (NJ). The tube allows you to take special liquid food (feed), medications and fluids if you can't meet all of your nutritional needs by eating normally.

You have a   _______________________________   tube.

If you have an NG 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.

If you have an NJ tube, you can only use pump feeding.

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. Remove the cap on your feeding tube. Remove the plunger from the syringe and connect the syringe to your feeding tube.
  4. Hold the syringe upright and pour the prescribed amount of warm water into the syringe to flush the tube.
  5. Pour the prescribed amount of feed into the syringe. Allow the feed to flow into the feeding tube until it has gone.
  6. Pour the prescribed amount of warm water into the syringe to flush the tube.
  7. Disconnect the syringe and 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

Feeding 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:

Important

If your feeding tube comes out, contact your GP.

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 syringes, contact your community dietitian who will arrange an ongoing supply from the Canterbury DHB Supply Department (see below).

When you're discharged from hospital, the hospital dietitian will give you 10 nose plasters. When you need more, you can order them from your local pharmacy. Nasofix is one of the brands you can use. You can also ask your community dietitian who may be able to organise an ongoing supply.

For giving sets, contact 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

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, Canterbury DHB. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created April 2018.

Sources

Page reference: 482994

Review key: HITUB-482880