Enteral Nutrition

Tube feedings may be needed when you are unable to take nutrition by mouth

If you can’t take food by mouth because of illness, surgery or another problem, enteral nutrition (tube feeding) can provide you with the nutrition you need.

With enteral nutrition, a liquid food mixture is delivered directly to your stomach or small intestine through a tube.

Why do I need enteral nutrition?

Difficulty swallowing, lack of appetite or other factors may contribute to your need for tube feeding. Enteral nutrition is appropriate if at least part of your digestive system is working, but you can’t eat enough to meet your body’s needs. Adults and children with pancreatitis, cerebral palsy, gastroparesis and head or neck cancer often need enteral nutrition.

If your digestive system is more compromised, parenteral nutrition, or IV nutrition, may be recommended instead.

How long will I need enteral nutrition?

You’ll likely receive enteral nutrition only for a short time until you can eat again. However, this therapy can also be your nutrition source for a longer period or even indefinitely, depending on your condition. Your doctor can give you an estimated time frame based on your specific needs and medical condition.

How is enteral nutrition administered?

There are many methods, equipment types and liquid food formulas available for enteral nutrition. If you receive enteral nutrition for only a few days or weeks, you might use a nasal (NG) tube, which goes through your nose and into your stomach. For long-term feeding, a surgeon will create an entry in your abdomen to directly insert a tube.

What to Expect

Why do I need enteral nutrition?

Difficulty swallowing, lack of appetite or other factors may contribute to your need for tube feeding. Enteral nutrition is appropriate if at least part of your digestive system is working, but you can’t eat enough to meet your body’s needs. Adults and children with pancreatitis, cerebral palsy, gastroparesis and head or neck cancer often need enteral nutrition.

If your digestive system is more compromised, parenteral nutrition, or IV nutrition, may be recommended instead.

How long will I need enteral nutrition?

You’ll likely receive enteral nutrition only for a short time until you can eat again. However, this therapy can also be your nutrition source for a longer period or even indefinitely, depending on your condition. Your doctor can give you an estimated time frame based on your specific needs and medical condition.

How is enteral nutrition administered?

There are many methods, equipment types and liquid food formulas available for enteral nutrition. If you receive enteral nutrition for only a few days or weeks, you might use a nasal (NG) tube, which goes through your nose and into your stomach. For long-term feeding, a surgeon will create an entry in your abdomen to directly insert a tube.

Assessment

Your enteral nutrition plan delivers enough nutrients to help you thrive. You’ll be monitored to ensure your tube feeding provides the correct levels of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fat, protein and fluids and whether you are able to follow the plan. Working closely with you and your physician, your care team will recommend changes to your formula or schedule as needed.

Education

You’ll learn how to use your feeding tube and other equipment and supplies, as well as how to clean the items and resolve simple problems that arise. You’ll learn how to avoid infections at your feeding tube site and recognize them if they occur. Consultations are completed by phone for any questions or issues that arise.

Nutrition services

Your Nutrition Team will make sure you always have the liquid food and other supplies you need. Supplies are delivered to your home once a month. A staff member is available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help you with any tube feeding problems.

Enteral Nutrition Services

Assessment

Your enteral nutrition plan delivers enough nutrients to help you thrive. You’ll be monitored to ensure your tube feeding provides the correct levels of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fat, protein and fluids and whether you are able to follow the plan. Working closely with you and your physician, your care team will recommend changes to your formula or schedule as needed.

Education

You’ll learn how to use your feeding tube and other equipment and supplies, as well as how to clean the items and resolve simple problems that arise. You’ll learn how to avoid infections at your feeding tube site and recognize them if they occur. Consultations are completed by phone for any questions or issues that arise.

Nutrition services

Your Nutrition Team will make sure you always have the liquid food and other supplies you need. Supplies are delivered to your home once a month. A staff member is available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help you with any tube feeding problems.

  • How long will I need enteral nutrition?
  • What feeding schedule do you recommend?
  • Will I need help at home to perform my tube feedings?
  • What side effects will I experience?

Questions to Ask Your Provider about Enteral Nutrition

  • How long will I need enteral nutrition?
  • What feeding schedule do you recommend?
  • Will I need help at home to perform my tube feedings?
  • What side effects will I experience?

Request a Consultation

Patient Stories for Enteral Nutrition

Client Agreement & Email Consent Form

Please review and sign this form allowing IU Health Home Care and its employees and agents to provide you products and services. The email consent form allows email communication with your healthcare provider.

Forms

Client Agreement & Email Consent Form

Please review and sign this form allowing IU Health Home Care and its employees and agents to provide you products and services. The email consent form allows email communication with your healthcare provider.

The Oley Foundation

The mission of this nonprofit group is to use education, outreach and networking to enrich the lives of people who need parenteral or enteral nutrition.

Resources

The Oley Foundation

The mission of this nonprofit group is to use education, outreach and networking to enrich the lives of people who need parenteral or enteral nutrition.