Good nutrition is essential to maintain weight, improve recovery and response to treatments and maintain independence. If your body does not get enough nutrition over a period of time, you could end up with ‘undernutrition’, often called ‘malnutrition’ by healthcare professionals. This can happen if you can’t swallow or tolerate food taken by mouth, or if your body cannot effectively use or absorb what you eat. Such a gap in good nutrition can lead to many different health problems.
As a candidate for tube feeding you will have a medical issue that means that you can’t eat enough to get the right amount of nutrition to stay healthy. Tube feeding is a way of overcoming this problem of getting enough of the right nutrition into your body.
The feeds used in tube feeding are a liquid form of nourishment that’s delivered to your body through a flexible tube. The nutrients in tube feeds are similar to what you would get from normal food, and are also digested in the same way. Tube feeds contain all the nutrients you need on a daily basis, including carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins, minerals and water.
Tube feeding is recommended for people with many different conditions and in many different circumstances and can be life-saving. Candidates for tube feeding can have problems with their mouth, oesophagus (food pipe) or stomach. They may have swallowing problems which put them at a risk of choking and aspirating - where food or liquid enters the lungs, or they may have difficulty managing to take enough food by mouth to meet their nutritional needs.
If you're visiting this site it may mean that tube feeding has been recommended to help you, or your loved one, to maintain their nutritional intake. With tube feeding, you will feel stronger, recover more quickly and have more energy to do the things you want to do. Although it can be an overwhelming prospect at first, tube feeding can make a real improvement to how you feel and your energy levels that could help you or your loved one get back to a more usual lifestyle.
A healthcare professional may have recommended tube feeding because of a greater risk of becoming malnourished especially when a person is :
Your dietitian will discuss with you the best type of feed for your unique circumstances, which will ensure you receive the optimal nutrition and care. Your healthcare professional will also recommend the type of feeding tube that’s best for you. Tube feed can be delivered to provide nutrition to your body with the following types of feeding tubes:
Everyone has different nutritional requirements. The type of feed that you receive is tailored to your needs and will depend on your weight, height, activity level, medical condition and home circumstances. There is a wide range of tube feed products that covers all nutritional needs, including: