Home Healthcare and Feeding Tubes

Feeding tubes are becoming incredibly common. In fact, these tubes are an essential piece of equipment for many who perform or receive at-home health care. Unfortunately, too few people understand how to use a feeding tube correctly. 

The sections below will introduce you to the basics of feeding tubes and how to use them safely and successfully. Read on to learn everything you need to know to use one of these devices the right way at home. 

Who Needs to Use a Feeding Tube at Home?

While feeding tubes are widespread, many people don’t understand who might need to use one. Feeding tubes are the ideal option for anyone who has lost the ability to eat or drink properly. At times, this can result from an injury, old age, or another ailment that causes a person to lose their eating and drinking abilities either temporarily or permanently. 

When in use, a feeding tube becomes the primary means by which a person will receive the food, fluids, and medication they require. As such, these feeding tubes become an essential aspect of home care for many medical patients. Using them properly ensures complete safety and success.  

Different Types of Feeding Tubes

Feeding tubes are not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Instead, these tubes come in multiple different forms. The two most common types of feeding tubes are nasogastric (NG) and orogastric (OG) feeding tubes. 

The main difference between an NG and an OG tube is the points at which they enter the person’s body. For example, an NG tube enters via the nasal passage. By contrast, an OG tube enters via the oral cavity. 

In both cases, the feeding tube eventually makes its way to the stomach, where it can become useful. Additionally, despite the different entry points, both these types of tubes serve the same general purpose of depositing nutrients, fluids, and medications into the person’s stomach. 

Methods for Testing Feeding Tube Placement

There are a few key steps you should follow when using a feeding tube. However, one of the most important stages of feeding tube use is to verify its placement. There are multiple methods for achieving this goal, each of which varies to the degree to which we recommend it. The list below provides a few well-known placement test methods and brief descriptions:

  1. X-ray: Using an X-ray machine usually provides accurate results and is one of the most common. However, there are some downsides to using this approach. First, using one of these machines requires you to visit a medical facility and seek the assistance of someone with medical training, making it an inopportune option for those using a feeding tube at home. Additionally, X-rays can expose the body to radiation that can cause harm. 
  2. Woosh method: Although too common, we do not recommend using the Woosh method under any circumstance. This method involves blowing into the feeding tube and waiting to hear a sound. Unfortunately, this approach is entirely unviable and can be dangerous to the person using the feeding tube. 
  3. PH test kits: One of the best ways to test the placement of a feeding tube is by using a PH test. These tests are quick, accurate, and affordable. PH tests are also easy to use for home care and they don’t expose the body to any form of radiation. 

It’s essential to note that testing placement is crucial to the success of using a feeding tube. Some studies show that up to 56% of feeding tubes intended for the stomach end up elsewhere in the body. Using a misplaced feeding tube can cause serious issues. As the next section will show, you should perform an accurate placement test during several stages of feeding tube use. 

How often to Test Feeding Tube Placement

Feeding tube placement is not something that you should do once. Instead, it is a practice you should perform multiple times throughout feeding tube use. Here are a few specific instances in which you should test the placement of an NG or OG tube:

  1. After the initial placement of the tube
  2. Before using the tube
  3. Following the adjustment or replacement of the feeding tube

The instances above indicate the moments in which you must test feeding tube placement. Additionally, you can test the placement of an NG or OG tube any time you like. 

How Long to Use a Feeding Tube at Home

Generally, you should use a feeding tube for a relatively short period of time. Still, some patients need to use one of these tubes for a prolonged period. In such cases, it is important to replace your feeding tube regularly. 

In most cases, it is best to use an NG or OG tube for about four to six weeks. Following that time frame, you should have your feeding tube replaced. Again, any time you place, use, or replace a feeding tube, you should confirm that it has the correct placement. Confirming correct placement is the only way to use one of these tubes the proper way. 

Find Everything You Need for At-Home Feeding Tube Use

By now, you have a clear understanding of what is involved in using a feeding tube for home healthcare. Still, it is equally important to select the best possible equipment for this job. As you might guess, not all equipment is able to provide the results you need. 

If you want the best feeding tube testing method you can find, we recommend using the RightSpotpH Indicator. This indicator is a form of at-home PH test that is easy to use, accurate, and incredibly expedient. Additionally, the RightSpotpH Indicator provides all the amazing benefits of using a PH test instead of an X-ray or the Woosh test. 

Would you like to learn more about the RightSpotpH Indicator? If so, visit RightBio Metrics to find out more information today. We’d love to explain our RightSpotpH Indicator in further depth and provide you with a demo free of charge

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