Gastrostomy Tube Feeding

Gastrostomy Tube Feeding At Home

What is Gastronomy?

A gastrostomy is a surgery that inserts a tube, called G-tube, through the abdomen and into the stomach. This surgical procedure offers a route for tube feeding when required. At an age, diseases become persistent in our life. And no illness has ever improved by starvation, but providing nutrition can be difficult for patients who cannot or will not eat.  

In such cases, where there’s a failure of external supplements, deity counselling then gastrostomy feeding is used to keep them healthy.  

When older adults are unable to eat enough food through their mouth or require extra calories to grow, then a gastrostomy helps to provide the nutrition he/she requires.  

Gastronomy is placed in people’s bodies permanently or only temporarily, depending on their health condition. 

Reasons for Gastrostomy feeding procedure?

A gastrostomy procedure is required when the food is unable to pass through the stomach and throat. A person needs gastrostomy for the following reasons: 

  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Appetite problems
  • Unable to eat or drink

Gastrostomy feeding is also required to durian a build-up of acid and fluids. It might also be required with blockages, often caused by cancer growth. 

What is a gastrostomy feeding tube?

A gastrostomy feeding tube is a device that is used to supply nutrition when you have trouble eating. It is inserted into the stomach and this process is called as feeding tube insertion, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG), esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) or gastrostomy tube insertion. 

How to prepare for gastrostomy feeding procedure?

Gastrostomy mostly takes place in a hospital or a clinic. Inform your doctor about the medications you’re taking including blood thinners such as Warfarin (Coumadin. Clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin (Bufferin).  

Being on medications can complicate the surgery so you’ll be asked to stop consuming blood thinners or anti-inflammatory medications for a week or so before the procedure. 

Inform the doctors about your health conditions, if you are any of the following – 

  • Pregnant
  • Diabetes
  • Heart condition
  • Allergies
  • Lung conditions

Oral medications or insulin for diabetes must be well adjusted on the day of the procedure.  

Your doctor would perform a gastrostomy using an endoscope, which is a flexible tube with an attached camera. You’ll be given anaesthesia so you don’t feel uncomfortable and hurt during the procedure.  

You might feel drowsy following the procedure. So arrange someone to drive you home before the procedure begins. 

The procedure takes quite fast. Typically, doctors ask you to decline to eat for eight hours before the procedure. Most people return home the same after the procedure completes or the following day.  

Gastrostomy procedure

Before gastrostomy tube feeding/peg tube feeding, supplies to collect include a 60cc syringe, prescribed liquid food, a measuring cup, a clean container and an IV pole to hang the food container to. To accept your liquid food, attach the tube from the end of the food bag to the end of your gastrostomy tube. Before the process of gastrostomy tube feeding/peg tube feeding, always wash your hands thoroughly. Attach the 60cc syringe to the end of your peg tube feeding and confirm its placement. 

On pulling back the plunger yellow green gastric juices flow into the tube and this confirms the position of the gastrostomy tube feeding/peg tube feeding in the stomach. In case of a large amount of fluid pulled back, ensure to not continue gastric feeding. Instead, inject the stomach content back as it contains important minerals. Clean the tube by flushing water through it. Wait for a few hours before gastrostomy tube feeding can be attempted again. 

On occasion of attempting gastrostomy feeding at home, one may need to compare the length of the feeding tube to one in the hospital. Peg tube feeding will not be possible if no stomach content can be seen on pulling back. The length can be confirmed with the help of your doctor by measuring with a ruler the length of the gastrostomy feeding tube. 

When attempting to do self peg tube feeding, open the clamp on your tube to adjust the speed of the gastrostomy feeding. Insert the tip of the tube into your feeding tube connecting it to the liquid food container. Slowly open and adjust the speed clamp to control the speed of gastrostomy feeding. The process of gastrostomy feeding should last for 45-60 minutes. On experiencing symptoms like choking or difficulty in breathing during, stop the peg tube feeding and consult your doctor immediately. Fill the container with the amount of water prescribed by your doctor on finishing the gastrostomy tube feeding. This allows a sufficient amount of fluids for you and also flushes out the tube. Roll down the clamp to turn off the food container and wash thoroughly after each use.  

What to do after the procedure?

Resting must be the priority after the treatment. Your abdomen requires time to heal for the initial five to seven days. 

Once the tube is inserted in the body, you are required to meet with a dietitian who’ll educate you on how to use the tube for feeding. They would also inform you on how to take care of it.  

Drainage around the tube is normal for the first few days, your nurse would assist you in changing dressing regularly. You may have slight pain for a few days around the cut in your body. Try to keep the incision area dry and clean to avoid getting any infection or skin irritation. 

What are Gastrostomy tube feeding complications?

Problems can arise from gastrostomy procedure, though it’s very rare. The possible complications of gastrostomy tube feeding are the following – 

  • Infection
  • Organ damage
  • Bleeding
  • Aspiration – accidental sucking of fluids, food or any other foreign particle into the airways
  • Anaesthesia-related concerns
  • Diarrhoea
  • Skin irritation around the tube
  • Malfunctioning of the tube

The complications in older adults are much severe if they are at risk of pre-existing diseases. Here are the factors that can increase the risk of complication in older adults – 

  • Obesity or diabetes
  • Excessive use of smoking, alcohol or drug abuse
  • Intake of certain prescription medications
  • Prior abdominal surgeries

Don’t forget to discuss your health history to the doctors before the surgery for a safer solution.  

Self-administration of the tube may not always be easy or convenient for all patients. In such cases, professional assistance comes handy as a trained nurse will have through knowledge of gastrostomy tube feeding. Emoha Elder Care offers nursing care at home that offers 24/7 (1800-123-445555) assistance in all the nursing needs of the patient. Any complications or difficulties with feeding can entirely be managed by our Care Angels (Nurses) and Care Partners (Attendants) at home, for your elderly’s comfort.