5 Tips to care for a child using Gastrostomy Tube (Feeding Tube)
Do you have a child who has a feeding tube? Or suggested one through their pediatrician? You are not alone. Nearly 200,000 children must be fed through a feeding tube for some, or all their food and nutrient intake needs. The process is daunting and difficult to accept for parents says, ONelio Mario Barrios Puldon the Director of Nursing of the Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care center Heavens Little Angels located in Poinciana, Fl. The good news about Gastrostomy Tube that its sole purpose is to make sure a child is as healthy as can be, and there’s a possibility the feeding tube will be removed depending on the needs of the child.
Here are 5 tips to make the transition to feeding tube easier on parents.
Tip # 1 Bathing a child with a feeding tube
To bathe or shower a child with a G-Tube (Gastrostomy Tube), it is recommended that you clean around the feeding tube at least once a day, with a washcloth, warm water, and mild soap. Make sure to dry the area well to make sure no dampness is around the feeding tube that can possibly lead to an infection. It is ok to bathe the day after feeding tube was placed, unless otherwise instructed by a doctor, specifically if a surgery has taken place, then you should follow the instructions of the Surgeon.
Tip #2 Inspect the area of the feeding tube every day for possible infections
Monitoring the site for any redness, swelling, or hardness around the G-Tube will be very helpful to make sure your child is ok. This process is very important especially during the first week the feeding tube was placed in the site, monitoring the site will lower the chances of the child developing a fever as well.
Tip # 3 Rotate the Tube
When the tube is first put in the site, unless sutured in place, it is important to monitor the feeding tube and rotate it a quarter several times a day, if the tube keeps going back to its original position it is ok to put tape on the feeding tube itself just as long as it does not touch the child’s skin, to prevent any possibility of infection.
Tip # 4 Flushing the Tube
Flushing the tube daily is very important to prevent any clogging that may take place. Make sure to use 1- 2 ounces of water through a large syringe to flush out the tube.
Tip # 5 What to do if the G-Tube comes out?
If any reason the feeding tube happens to come off the site, don’t panic, doctors understand that this may happen, whether the child is moving too much, or possibly getting stuck on clothing or a piece of fabric. When this happens, it is important to have a Foley catheter, typically you will leave the hospital with one when a child has had a feeding tube put in their stomach. In the case that you don’t have one, make sure to leave the hospital with one or ask your doctor right away because it is important in case the feeding tube does come off. A Foley catheter is used to replace the feeding tube in case the tube does come off. Make sure you wash your hands, and lubricate the Foley, if no lubricant is around, it is ok to wet the Foley, once its inside the tube hole you are good to go.
It is crucial to consult a doctor or visit the EMERGENCY ROOM right away to replace Foley Catheter back to a feeding tube for it cannot be used to feed a child with food or medication unless otherwise instructed by doctor or medical personnel.
Keep these tips in mind if you or someone you know has a child who currently uses a feeding tube. Thankfully in this day in age, we have medical day care centers known as PPECs that will take the stress away from the parents. ONelio Mario Barrios Puldon at Heavens Little Angels PPEC located in Poinciana Fl. says, “We understand the frustration of choosing whether to miss a day of work in order to care for the needs of your child, but we are here to help to work as a team, and to provide the best help and support for your child.”