The Essential Guide to Nursing Ryle’s tube Feed and At-Home Care

The Essential Guide to Nursing Ryle’s tube Feed and At-Home Care

Our body requires a constant supply of essential nutrients to maintain good health and strength. However, in cases where a patient cannot consume food orally due to swallowing difficulties or inadequate intake, it becomes necessary to provide nutritional supplementation through tube feeding.  

Tube feeding, also known as Ryle’s Tube feed, is a nursing procedure which uses a pre-sterile tube made of disposable polyvinyl chloride, known as Ryle’s tube, to provide nutrition to individuals who cannot obtain nutrition by mouth or are not in a state to swallow food safely. This procedure is diagnostic and therapeutic and applies to people of all ages, from infants to the elderly.  

At Apollo HomeCare, we provide proper training to our nurses to ensure the safe administration of food and medications via several types of tubes, such as nasogastric, gastrostomy, or orogastric. This method of tube feeding involves providing easy-to-digest formulae through the tube to meet the nutritional needs of the patient. It is a vital procedure that helps individuals with various medical conditions receive the nutrients they need to live healthy lives.  

Why is Ryle’s Tube Feed provided, and to whom is it provided?  

 Tube feeding, also known as Ryle’s Tube feeding, is required for patients unable to eat orally due to various health conditions. This method is often used for patients in an unconscious state, suffering from low cranial nerve palsies, or unable to consume food by mouth due to a disease. Numerous health conditions can result in a dependence on tube feeding, with the most common ones being:   

  •  Premature births,   
  • Failure to thrive, or extreme malnutrition,   
  • Various neuromuscular and neurological disorders, and   
  • Severe difficulty swallowing food.  

In addition to various health conditions, anatomical abnormalities and specific post-surgical malformations of the mouth and oesophagus, particularly in cases of oral cancer, may necessitate tube feeding. This feeding method is typically a temporary solution for unwanted crises such as a disorder, post-surgery malformation, or injury. It is typically utilized for a period ranging from a few days to a few weeks.  

It is important to periodically switch the feeding tube from one nostril to the other, as failure to do so may result in cuts in the nostril due to the constant pressure buildup, particularly when the tube is used for prolonged periods. Intubation may also be necessary for certain patients, such as those with facial or neck injuries or surgery, intestinal blockages, obstructions, or those in a coma or on a mechanical ventilator for breathing. Additionally, a nasogastric intubation tube may suction out stomach contents in cases of accidental poisoning, and activated charcoal may be administered via a tube to absorb harmful substances and facilitate their removal. Besides several disorders, some of the following patients also require intubation:  

  • Patients with facial or neck injuries   
  • Those who have had surgery, as well as those who are suffering from intestinal blockages or obstructions 
  • Patients in a coma or those requiring mechanical ventilation for breathing  
  •  A nasogastric intubation tube may suction out stomach contents such as waste, poison, or blood. Alternatively, activated charcoal may be administered via a tube to absorb harmful substances and facilitate their removal.  

Tube feeding care for a patient: 

  1. To alleviate anxiety associated with tube feeding, it is essential to provide reassurance and explain the procedure’s necessity.  
  1. Oral hygiene is also critical in tube feeding, as the mouth and throat can harbor infectious microorganisms that may lead to respiratory infections. Since tube-fed patients may produce less saliva, their mouths can become dry and coated, leading to the growth of odour-causing bacteria and bad breath. Therefore, it is essential to keep the mouth clean and odour-free.  
  1. Mouth care should be performed every 8 hours. If the patient is conscious, they can gargle with diluted betadine mouthwash or plain lukewarm water.  
  1.  If the patient cannot swallow or spit, skilled nurses will provide mouth care every eight hours. Additionally, if the patient is conscious, they should brush their teeth daily.  

 Care of the Tube:  

  1. To ensure the feeding tube is securely in place after insertion, use tape to fix it properly and replace it if it becomes loose or dirty. It is important to avoid any traction or to pull on the tube to prevent dislodging or displacement, which is why the tip of the tube at the nose is marked.  
  1. To maintain hygiene, flush the tube with water and close the clamp after every feed. If using a PVC nasogastric (NG) tube, replace it after 15 days, while polyurethane or silicone NG tubes can be kept for 4-6 weeks due to their resistance to gastric acid. Surgically placed PEG or jejunostomy tubes can be kept for longer periods.  
  1. While the ostomy heals, daily dressing is required, but once the wound has healed and the stoma is healthy, dressing is no longer necessary. A clean gauze piece can prevent feed spillage and contamination of the stoma. The distal part of the tube, which is the part away from the body or the tail part, should also be fixed to prevent traction, and the tube should be clamped well.  

 The role of Apollo homecare with Ryle’s Tube feed; why it is recommended to hire  

After being discharged from the hospital, managing tube feeding at home can be challenging for the patient’s family or relatives. Precise knowledge and trained skillsets are necessary for successful tube feeding, which may leave families feeling anxious without round-the-clock care and support.  

Fortunately, several at-home care service providers are available nowadays, such as Apollo homecare. While it may seem easy to care for the patient at home, providing 24×7 long-term care and support, especially regarding precision feeding, can be difficult.  

Apollo nurses or other healthcare providers who offer at-home care services ensure that the diet and medicine chart prescribed by the doctor and dietitian is strictly adhered to. They are trained to prepare food with precision and accuracy per the diet chart.  

Although it may take some time for the patient to get used to the new feeding pattern, the home care provider makes it easier to follow. Additionally, the care provider monitors several other factors, such as digestive system tolerance issues like nausea, vomiting, bowel troubles, stomach rigidity or tenderness. If necessary, they report any problems to the doctor.  

Apollo HomeCare offers Ryle’s Tube feed to the patient and monitors their overall health condition, providing families with the assurance that they are in safe hands even after discharge from the hospital.  

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