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7–11 February 2022 – Feeding Tube Awareness Week

The mission of Feeding Tube Awareness Week is to promote the positive benefits of feeding tubes as life-saving medical interventions. The week also serves to educate the broader public about the medical reasons that children and adults are tube fed, the challenges that families face, and day-to-day life with tube feeding. Feeding Tube Awareness Week® connects families, by showing how many other families are going through similar things, and making people feel less alone.  

The beginning of February was selected because of it’s proximity to Valentine’s Day since we love our tubes. It can be challenging to have a lot of negativity surrounding the medical device that is keeping you, your child, or your loved one alive. This week, in particular, is an opportunity to embrace the positives and be thankful that it helps people to live, grow and thrive.

A feeding tube is a medical device that is used to provide nutrition to people who cannot obtain nutrition by mouth, are unable to swallow safely, or need nutritional supplementation. Placement may be temporary for the treatment of acute conditions or lifelong in the case of chronic disabilities.

There are dozens of conditions that may require tube feeding. The more common conditions that necessitate feeding tubes include prematurity, malnutrition, neurologic and neuromuscular disorders, inability to swallow, anatomical and post-surgical malformations of the mouth and esophagus, cancer, Sanfilippo syndrome, and digestive disorders.

A feeding tube can help you maintain adequate nutrition when an advanced gastrointestinal condition makes it difficult to take food by mouth. This can happen when you have:

Crohn’s disease (in severe cases)
Gastrointestinal cancer
Gastrointestinal complications due to trauma
Intestinal failure
Bowel obstruction
Microscopic colitis
Narrowing in your esophagus or digestive tract (stricture)
Short bowel syndrome
Ulcerative colitis

Feeding tubes are used widely in children with excellent success for a wide variety of conditions. Some children use them temporarily until they are able to eat on their own, while other children require them longterm. Some children only use feeding tubes to supplement their oral diet, while others rely on them exclusively.

The most common types of tubes include those placed through the nose, including nasogastric, nasoduodenal, and nasojejunal tubes, and those placed directly into the abdomen, such as a gastrostomy, gastrojejunostomy, or jejunostomy feeding tube.

Enteral nutrition is liquid nutrition that is delivered directly into the stomach or small intestine via a feeding tube. Enteral nutrition is recommended when a person cannot take in enough nutrition by mouth or if there is a medical problem involving the upper gastrointestinal tract.

Visit the Oley Foundation for more tools and resources on tube feeding and nutrition.

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*All information in this post is published for general information and educational purposes only. Arms of Mercy NPC and the website do not offer any diagnosis or treatment, and will not be held liable for any adverse health effects, losses and/or damages whatsoever. Any action you take as a result of the information is at your own risk, and does not replace the advice of a qualified medical practitioner. Always consult with your medical healthcare practitioner.