Gadgets & Tips
Feeding tube pads
Button pads can help absorb leakage from the stoma and tube and help to reduce irritation and inflammation around and under the tube.
Some people choose to leave their tube site open to air, however others find that a dressing or pad is needed for comfort and/or to keep control of significant leakage. One approach is to take a piece of IV split gauze (with an opening for a tube or line) and place it under the tube or button, taping the two sides together to keep it in place. The gauze soaks up the moisture but the area still stays wet and can lead to growth of granulation tissue.
When choosing a dressing for your tube site, pick one that pulls moisture away from your skin and allows air to flow around the tube.
One great option is reusable homemade pads, typically made of two or three layers for absorption. These are inexpensive and practical, and many options can be found on the Internet.
Backpacks are essential for feeding on the go. Your choices include specialized backpacks made for feeding pumps or any small backpack with some slight modifications.
Some use regular backpacks that they have customized with hooks and/or Velcro strips. Others will buy hydration packs used for hiking and biking, remove the bladder, and fit their feed set inside. These packs have elastic openings for the feed line to come out on either side, allowing the bags to remain tightly zipped and secure in crowded areas, as well as camouflaging the feed set, which many patient find desirous in a work environment or social setting.
Securing your line
An easy solution to keep your line from getting snagged is to pick up a few of the cell phone belt clips that can be snapped into the back of phone cases. Attach the clip to the bottom half of a backpack strap or the top of your belt, thread the line through it, and push the slack back into the bag. This will keep your feeding line snug to your body and less likely to be snagged by others around you.
Another option is to apply a tape tab near the end of the feed line and secure it to your shirt or waistband with a safety pin. Long tubes can be secured the same way. Simply place a tab of paper tape (or a similar tape that won’t leave behind sticky residue) near the end of your tube (but before the port). Use a safety pin to attach the tab to the inside of your shirt of waistband, and you will keep your tube from moving around, but allow the port to be free for feeding or irrigation.
The Lopez Valve connects to your tube (J, G, G/J, NJ, etc.) and then the other end of it connects to the feed set. The valve has a wheel on it which functions as a stopcock. It allows a patient to flush or take medicines without disconnecting from the feed set. The wheel is turned, flow is stopped from the feed set, and a syringe can be inserted into the small adapter it has for liquids. After flushing or administering meds, the wheel is returned to its place, and feeds begin again. This helps minimize the risk of infection to the patient, particularly if they are traveling and needing to flush or take medicine in non-sterile, public environments.
Another useful device is the AMT clamp. Although most patients will meticulously hook up their feed bags and make sure the connectors are tightly fitted to their feed port, disconnections happen, and they can be messy! The AMT clamp has 2 ends. One end secures around the patient’s port, and the other end secures around the feed set connector. It is just long enough to hold the two ends together so that the feed connector cannot separate from the port. This is especially important at night, when a patient might unwitting roll over the connector and dislodge it.
For patients with a G, NG, or G/J tube who experience severe gas bloating and pain, a useful product is theFarrell Valve Bag. It can be hooked up to a patient even while they are feeding, and it will allow for continuous gastric decompression. It does not need to be used only during feeds, but can be left connected to the tube.
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