How to Care for a PEG Feeding Tube

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A percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube, is used for two reasons: for feeding and to remove excess air or fluid in the stomach. One end of the tube is inserted into the patient's stomach, while the other end sticks out of the abdomen a couple of inches. Caring for a PEG tube is easy if you follow the simple instructions provided by your physician. If unexpected complications arise, always consult your physician immediately.

Things You'll Need

  • Soap
  • Cotton swab
  • Warm water
  • Syringe

Care

  • Wash hands before handling the PEG tube to prevent infection.

  • Use a cotton swab, soap and warm water to clean the area around the PEG tube daily.

  • Very gently twist the tube daily to prevent the skin from adhering to the tube as it heals.

Feeding & Medications

  • Flush the PEG tube with 60 milliliters of warm water, using a syringe before and after feeding or administering medicine. This helps prevents blockage.

  • Crush all medications and mix with water before pushing through the feeding tube.

  • Make sure the patient sits up for at least an hour after feeding to ensure the liquid doesn't back up into the tube, causing pain, gas or blockage.

Clogged Tube

  • Push through 30 milliliters of warm water with a syringe.

  • Try to draw back 60 milliliters into the syringe. The purpose of drawing back more than was pushed through is to try to pull back whatever is causing a blockage within the tube. The extra 30 milliliters you are attempting to draw back is in the tube between the skin and the stomach. If there is only 20 extra milliliters of liquid, you will feel a force that won't allow you to pull back on the syringe anymore, as there is no more liquid to draw back. If you feel this, stop pulling back on the syringe.

  • Dispose of the liquid you pull back into the syringe. Continue pushing warm water through the PEG tube 30 milliliters at a time, followed by pulling back 60 milliliters of liquid, until the blockage is cleared.

Tips & Warnings

  • It's important to speak with your physician in depth before being sent home after receiving a PEG tube to ensure that you know what is normal and what isn't. Find out what you can easily handle at home, and what constitutes an emergency.
  • Contact your physician if infection around the tube occurs or if you cannot clear a clog in the tube.

References

  • Photo Credit medicine image by kromleh from Fotolia.com
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