Tube Feeding at Home – A Guide for Families and Caregivers


Tube feeding (also referred to as enteral nutrition) provides you with essential food when you cannot consume enough. It can be administered using either an overnight pump or at regular intervals throughout the day with a bolus-feeding syringe; it provides essential nourishment.

No single answer exists regarding how long one should remain connected to NG tube feeds – this depends on your unique circumstances and health status. Most individuals find they can successfully manage nutrition for three months to two years with this form of nutrition support.

Getting Started

Tube feeding is a method for providing nourishment to those unable to swallow, chew or drink normally. It may be used during an illness treatment period or long-term. Either way, tube feeding has helped many individuals feel better and live longer lives.

Tube feeds may be administered using various tools, including syringes, gravity feeding sets, or feeding pumps which may be administered continuously or intermittently. Your doctor will discuss each approach before suggesting the most suitable one to meet your needs.

Your healthcare team will also instruct you on how to care for the tube and equipment. They will guide you in washing your hands properly and cleaning around them to reduce irritation, as well as how to check for infection or blockages in their use.

A dry mouth can be an unpleasant side effect of tube feeding. To counter this effect, always ensure you bring water or another beverage when taking feeds, and seek advice from your nurse on how to deal with this. Another risk associated with tube feeding is aspiration pneumonia; this occurs when formula enters someone’s lungs through their nasogastric (NG) tube accidentally due to vomiting during feedings or sitting upright for 30-60 minutes afterward. To mitigate against aspiration pneumonia risk in loved ones using tube feeds ensure they sit up or keep their head upright during meals, as this will prevent aspiration pneumonia from happening in such cases. To mitigate against aspiration pneumonia risk, loved ones must sit up when receiving tube feds to avoid aspiration pneumonia from happening as this allows formula enters their lungs through their nasogastric tube into their lungs through their nasogastric line, such as vomiting during feed or after receiving their tube feed to prevent aspiration pneumonia risks of aspiration pneumonia occurring through their nasogastric (NG tube into their lungs a person’s lungs via their NG tube.) To help avoid aspiration pneumonia risks, ensure your loved one sit up/head up while receiving their feeding session and 30-60 minutes post feed to take effect, avoiding aspiration pneumonia occurring as soon as possible after their meal and after 30-60 minute post feed to keep head up during and post feed and before after 30-60 minute post feeding session has finished preventing formula entering their

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Flushing the tube regularly is necessary to ensure it remains free from clogs and optimal health, typically done using a syringe and following your healthcare provider’s recommendations for how much water to put through. Doing this can also provide your loved one stays adequately hydrated with enough fluids; flushing also lowers infection risks caused by bacteria entering through the digestive tract through their nasogastric tube; therefore, all instructions given by healthcare professionals regarding care and maintenance for this device must be strictly followed.


Some individuals who struggle with chewing or swallowing may benefit from tube feeding at home, which provides a nutritionally complete formula with protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and other essential elements. A dietetic team selects an individual procedure based on his/her needs; they may be administered through a syringe or feeding pump, which gradually dispenses set amounts throughout the day/night based on set schedules; others receive tube feeds through nose/mouth tubes called nasogastric (NG), while still, others receive enterostomy tubes inserted through abdominal tube feeds inserted through an enterostomy tube for convenience.

Home residents receiving tube feeding must know how to correctly prepare and administer their formula to avoid issues and maintain nutritional health. Caregiving staff should follow your physician’s advice regarding which formula best meets their needs, where to purchase it, how and where to store it (some types require refrigeration), when washing their hands regularly, and flushing out their tube before, after, and during feedings.

Hydration is of utmost importance when tube feeding at home as dehydration can quickly occur with frequent vomiting or nausea. By adding electrolytes such as sodium chloride (table salt) into formula mixes, electrolytes such as this can replace lost minerals while providing extra calories to supplement those who cannot consume enough solid foods.

As part of a healthy diet plan, it’s also essential to monitor a person’s weight and ensure he or she meets his or her dietary goals. If your loved one isn’t making sufficient progress towards meeting these targets, speak to his/her doctor, nurse, or dietitian about increasing calories/protein in his/her formula intake.

Remember these essential tips to make tube feeding at home much less of an ordeal for all involved. Always consult with a healthcare provider for updates and advice, and remain in communication throughout this process.


If your loved one requires a nasogastric (NG) tube or nasojejunal (nJ) tube for feeding, they must be flushed with water before and after each meal to keep the line clear. Your healthcare professional will advise on how often this must be done daily.

Your loved one must remain upright during tube feedings unless instructed otherwise by their physician to reduce the risk of aspiration, which occurs when formula enters their airways and can become life-threatening. Your physician may suggest keeping the head of the bed elevated at a 30-45 degree angle during meal times to maximize safety and reduce aspiration risks.

A syringe and tubing should always be available to flush the feeding tube between meals or when needed. Fill 15-30 mL of warm water into the needle, gently push into the box until rinsed out, then remove and refill with the desired amount. Don’t forget to wash your hands after every use!

Assist your loved one during tube feedings. An extra set of hands to assist with things such as meal prep, tube changes, cleaning, or simply being there can make the process simpler and safer for all involved. Furthermore, ensure they get enough rest and nutritious meals – caring for someone receiving tube feedings can be exhausting, so don’t forget to seek assistance if needed and make time for yourself too!

Home tube feedings may seem challenging, but they can be safe and efficient with proper preparation and knowledge. Should any questions or issues arise, your healthcare team should be there to assist.


Tube feeding can be an intimidating experience for patients and caregivers, with unfamiliar equipment to learn how to use and a new routine to get used to. But you can follow some simple tips to help your loved one remain comfortable while receiving home enteral nutrition therapy.

First and foremost, you must follow the directions for your specific NG tube type. Washing hands before and after feedings, following recipe directions strictly, and keeping the area around the tube clean will lower their risk of infection or clogs. In addition, flushing out their NG tube before and after each feeding can keep milk or medication clogs at bay – the best way is usually with warm water.

Proper positioning of an NG tube is also vital, with most doctors suggesting a 45-degree angle to prevent it from coming loose or potentially falling into your lungs. If you need further assistance in positioning the NG tube, seek assistance from your physician immediately.

Additionally, always have extra NG tubes and supplies ready. You should be able to purchase these at local pharmacies or grocery stores. In addition, it’s wise to store enough home enteral nutrition formula for several days at least; make sure the expiration dates are monitored regularly.

Caring for someone with a severe illness or disability is no simple task, and losing sight of your needs can be easy. While seeking support from friends and family is essential, don’t forget to set aside some time just for you!

Navigating tube feeding at home can be daunting yet manageable. By following these tips and working closely with our Care Team, you can rest easy knowing your loved one receives proper nutrition and the care they require for healthy living. For any further assistance or any concerns related to tube feeding at home, feel free to reach out – they’re always here!