What To Know About Tube-Feeding in Pediatric Care
Pediatric care can be some of the most challenging and rewarding work in a hospital setting. There is a greater emotional weight that comes with working with children, and because of that, providing exemplary care is even more crucial. The same is true when giving these patients the nutrients they need to make a full recovery. Below are a few things you need to know about tube feeding in pediatric care.
Conditions That Compel Tube Feeding
Typically, a patient requires a feeding tube when they have a condition that prevents them from getting the necessary nutrients through traditional consumption methods. The same is true for pediatric patients. In many cases, pediatric patients who need tube feeding are typically newborns who can’t eat by mouth, but this is not always the case. Some common conditions that may create this scenario for children include:
- Premature birth
- Failure to thrive
- Eating disorders
- Metabolic disorders
- Heat conditions
- Genetic diseases
Types of Tube Feeding in Pediatric Care
The most common form of tube feeding for pediatric care is nasogastric feeding. In this type of feeding, a tube is inserted into the nose and runs directly into a patient’s stomach. This method is ideal because it allows the patient to have the feeling of being full. The tube may also be removed between feedings, allowing for a greater degree of comfort.
In some instances, such as a child with mitochondrial disease, tube feeding becomes the primary method for a patient to receive nutrition. In this case, using a gastrostomy tube, or a “g-tube,” is the standard solution. This tube is inserted directly into a child’s abdomen and feeds into the child’s stomach. These tubes are simple to manage, even when a patient leaves the hospital.
Complications of Tube-Feeding in Pediatric Care
As healthcare providers, one of the most significant things to know about pediatric tube feeding is understanding the complications that can arise. When they occur, they can become disastrous in a very short time, so quick action is necessary.
In nasogastric feeding, complications happen when the tube becomes dislodged, leading to food spilling into the lungs. This often occurs if a coughing spell occurs during feeding. Healthcare providers should closely monitor patients during this process and should check tubes after a coughing spell. This is especially true if a patient is unconscious or confused. For these patients, it may not be obvious that they cannot breathe.
In g-tubes, complications often occur in the first few weeks after they are inserted and before the tube can mature. If a tube is disrupted, which is more likely with young patients, it can create a false tract. Even after growing, g-tubes can become dislodged or clogged. Because these complications typically occur after a patient leaves the hospital, it is essential to educate parents and children about complications.
At Med One, we offer a wide range of medical pumps, including feeding pumps designed for use by patients of all ages. This way, we can work together to be sure the youngest patients get the care they need.