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Enteral feeding support

Enteral feeding is the delivery of food into the body if the child is unable to receive food orally. This can include the use of a nasogastric feeding tube, a gastrostomy or a jejunostomy.

Children may require enteral feeding for a wide range of underlying conditions, such as for malnutrition, for increased energy requirement (e.g. Cystic Fibrosis), for metabolic disorders and also for children with neuromuscular disorders.

Some children need some or all of their food via a tube, this can be for a number of different reasons. Children’s community nurses support families to be able to confidently look after their child and make sure they receive all the nutrition they need.

How can we help?

Initially, we carry out a nursing assessment to understand why your child is enterally fed or may need to be.

Sometimes we are involved prior to enteral feeding being set up and so would support you through the decision to undergo surgery and help you understand the different ways a child can be fed artificially.

We would training to parents and family members/carers so they are able to use the feeding tubes safely.

If your child is of school age we work alongside our colleagues in the CYP Training Team to make sure nursery or school are competent in using the tube and can safely feed your child. Settings who have been trained would be following a care plan specific to your child and their assessed needs.

We are able to support you with the care and changing of NG tubes and gastrostomy buttons, you may want us to do this for you or train you how to do it.

Who might support my child with enteral feeding?

Some children will always be enterally fed, for others it may be a short term solution. In those cases we work with other professionals your child may be seeing (such as health visitors, dietitian, speech and language therapists) to support you restarting oral feeding.

We will negotiate with you as a family how often you would like to see us, for some families that is weekly in the beginning but as time goes on and you feel more confident our input may be less frequent.