There are many ways of feeding through an enteral feeding tube. There are various types of formula and your healthcare practitioner will advise on the best formula to suit your needs.
Some people prefer to give a blenderised diet by liquidising regular food and vitamins and giving this via their gastrostomy tube.
Pump feeding – this can be by several bolus feeds throughout the day or a continuous feed over a longer period – anything up to 20 hours (a rest of 4 hours in 24 hours is recommended) The pumps have various settings which can be adjusted to suit your needs.
Syringe feeding – this is using a syringe to give formula through the gastrostomy tube (it is not recommended for Jejunostomy tubes – as formula into the Jejunum should be in small volumes). It can be anything up to 500mls at a time – depending on tolerance.
Gravity feeding – there are bags available to give formula or blenderised diet via gravity. The bags are filled and have a control valve to control the rate of the flow.
Some people prefer a combination of these methods – the important thing is that you get the correct amount of nutrients to meet your needs.
All of these options can be discussed with your healthcare professional and the best option for you can be put in place. Some people prefer to be fed overnight so they can be free to go about their usual day time activities. Some people prefer to feed at mealtimes as they would if they were eating by mouth. Some may prefer to feed early in the morning and then again in the evening before bed. Babies may need to be fed every 3 – 4 hours.
Each person is different and have their own thoughts on what would be best for them. Speak to your healthcare professional if things have changed and you would like to try a different option to the one you originally started with.
Assistive Devices Program
The Ontario Ministry of Health have a program in place to help towards the purchase of a feeding pump as well as ongoing feeding supplies.
The grant is currently $549.75 towards a feeding pump and $375 every 3 months towards feeding supplies ($1500 per year). If you are in receipt of ODSP/ACSD you will qualify for a higher amount of $733 for the pump and $500 every 3 months towards supplies ($2000 per year). This funding is not for your formula – most of the prepared formulas are available through the Ontario Drug Benefit program (ODB) and this will be dealt with by your pharmacy that provides your formula
The ADP forms and information about the program are available online which explains the process and identifies who would qualify.
The process for the application takes approximately 6-8 weeks and the funds are paid directly to you. Ensuring the form is completed is your responsibility and you should check with your health care provider whether this has been completed when you first start enteral feeding.
You have to renew your financial support every two years enteral-feeding pump and supplies. The Ministry of health will send out forms that will need to be returned in order to continue receiving ADP funding.