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Preparing Your Tube Feeding at Home

Preparing your work space

  • Choose an area in your home that is clean and free of clutter. Use a smooth table or countertop.
  • Do not prepare your tube feeding in damp areas or near pets.
  • Clean the work surface area with cleaning solution per your nurse’s instructions.

Administering Your Tube Feeding at Home

Your nurse will teach you how to administer your tube feeding and show you every step of the process. The nurse will ask you to demonstrate the steps and answer any questions you may have along the way.

You and the nurse will complete an instruction sheet together called, “Your Tube Feeding Schedule.” This is kept in your home for you to use as a reference whenever you need it.

Contact your nurse or the Heartland Nutrition Team if you have any questions about administering your tube feeding. We are available to you by telephone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Methods of tube feeding administration

Below area a few important measurements and conversions that you may need when preparing your tube feeding. (1 ml = 1 cc)

30 ml = 1 oz = 1/8 cup

60 ml = 2 oz = 1/4 cup

120 ml = 4 oz = 1/2 cup

240 ml = 8 oz = 1 cup

Before you begin your tube feeding, follow these steps:

  1. Wash you feeding tube placement.
  2. Wash your hands thoroughly.
  3. Check residuals if you were instructed to do so by your physician.
  4. Sit in a chair or sit propped up with pillows during your feeding and for 60 minutes after you finish your feeding. If you receive your feeding at night, be sure the head of your bed is raised to at least 30-45 degrees.

Syringe or Bolus method

  1. Shake the tube feeding formula and wipe off the top of the can/carton.
  2. Use the 60 ml syringe to flush your feeding tube with warm water.
  3. Remove the plunger of the syringe and place the syringe tip into your feeding tube.
  4. Pour the tube feeding formula into the syringe and hold the syringe above your stomach.
  5. You can adjust the flow of the formula by raising or lowering the syringe.
  6. Allow the formula to flow into the feeding tube until you have received the prescribed amount.
  7. Flush your feeding tube with warm water.
  8. Rinse the syringe out with water until it is clear of all tube feeding formula. Place the syringe in a clean container until your next feeding.
  9. Use a new syringe every 24 hours.

Gravity method

  1. Shake the tube feeding formula and wipe the top of the can/carton.
  2. Use the 60 ml syringe to flush your feeding tube with warm water.
  3. Hang the gravity feeding bag set 2-3 feet above your feeding tube.
  4. Be sure the roller clamp on the bag set is closed and pour the prescribed amount of tube feeding formula into the top of the bag.
  5. You then need to ‘prime’ the tubing. Hold the end of the gravity feeding bag set over a cup and open the roller clamp. Allow the formula to fill the tubing and then close the roller clamp. This will get all the air out of the tubing.
  6. Insert the tip of the gravity feeding set into your feeding tube.
  7. Slowly open the roller clamp to control the feeding rate. You can adjust the flow by opening or closing the roller clamp.
  8. When the feeding is complete, close the roller clamp and disconnect the gravity feeding bag set.
  9. Flush the feeding tube with warm water.
  10. Rinse the gravity feeding set out with water until it is clear of all the tube feeding formula. Place the gravity feeding set in a clean container until your next feeding.
  11. Use a new gravity feeding set every 24 hours. Use a new syringe for water flushes and medications every 7 days.

Pump method

We will provide you with a Kangaroo Joey pump and your nurse will show you how to use it. A step-by-step tutorial can be found at www.kangaroopumptraining.com.

  1. Shake the tube feeding formula and wipe off the top of the can.
  2. Use the 60 ml syringe to flush your feeding tube with warm water.
  3. Hang the pump feeding bag set on an IV pole or above the tube feeding pump.
  4. Open the tube feeding formula and fill the feeding bag set with your tube feeding formula. Be sure to add only enough formula for 8 hours. Depending on your feeding rate this may be 2-3 cans.
  5. Turn the pump on and load the pump feeding bag set per manufacturer instructions.
  6. Prime the pump per manufacturer instructions.
  7. Run the pump per manufacturer instructions.
  8. Flush your feeding tube with warm water at least every 4-6 hours during continuous feedings. Your nurse will review with you your individualized water-flushing schedule and pump bag sets.
  9. If you are receiving intermittent feedings, rinse your pump feeding set with water until it is clear of all tube feeding formula after each feeding. Place the pump feeding set in a clean container until your next feeding.
  10. Use a new feeding pump set every 24 hours. Use a new syringe for water flushed and medications every 7 days.

Helpful tips about the Kangaroo Joey Pump

  • The battery will charge when the pump is plugged into a wall outlet, including during regular operation.
  • It will take bout 6 hours to fully charge the battery.
  • A fully charged battery will last approximately 18 hours.

IMPORTANT: Contact the Heartland Nutrition Team at 866.506.0469 if your pump is not working properly. The team will assist you to troubleshoot your pump. 

The Heartland Nutrition Team provides you with a few gravity bags (feeding bags with white caps). Be sure to keep these bags in a safe location. If your pump malfunctions, we will send you a replacement and discuss with you how to use the gravity bags in order to receive your tube feeding.

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