Help Section for Tube Feedings

This article has been archived.
Please use for reference only.

Penn Home Infusion Team
University of Pennsylvania Health System
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Problem Possible Causes What To Do
1. The feeding won't run 1. The tubing may be kinked. 1. Un kink tubing.
2. Diarrhea 1. Various causes. 1. Call physician.
3. Cramping or bloating 1. Feedings may be too cold.
2. Feedings may be running too fast.
1. Allow feedings to come to room temperature before infusing.
2. If you have gravity flow feedings, they should infuse over at least 30-60 minutes. Call physician.
4. Drainage around tube 1. It can be normal to have about a quarter-size area of tan drainage on dressing. 1. If more than quarter size amount, call physician.
2. Keep area clean with soap and water. You may put a dressing around tube to absorb drainage.
5. Feeling sick to stomach 1. Feedings may be running too fast. 1. Stop feeding for 60 minutes and see if you feel better. If you do, restart feeding.
2. Activity, such as getting out of bed or walking may help.
3. Sit up at a 45 degree angle (or higher). If these don't help, call physician.
6. The stitches break 1. This can happen over time. 1. RELAX. If the stitches break, tape the tube down well and call physician to make arrangements to have sutures replaced.
7. Tube falls out 1. Tube not secured. 1. Clean tube off with soap and water and immediately put tube back in. If unable to do so, call physician right away to make plans to replace tube.
8. Choking 1. Lying flat during feeding 1. Always sit up 45 degrees during and one hour after feeding. If you choke or cough during your feeding, stop the feeding immediately.
2. Call physician to report this incident.
9. Clogged Feeding Tube 1. Inadequate flushing
2. Uncrushed medications
1. Flush feeding tube with 60 cc of warm water before and after all feedings or drugs.
2. Check for a kink in the tube.
3. If available, use medications in their liquid forms.
4. Crush pills to a fine powder and mix with 50 100 cc of warm water.
5. Check with your Penn HomeIT nurse or doctor before crushing any medications.
6. If you cannot unclog your feeding tube, call physician.
10. Dry mouth and lips. 1. Unable to take anything by mouth The following things may help prevent dryness:
1. Lubricate dry lips with Chapstick or Vaseline.
2. Rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash (with your doctor's approval).
3. If allowed by your doctor, suck on hard candy or chew sugarless gum.