An audit of adult patients on home enteral tube feeding in a region of Northern Ireland
Background: Increasing numbers of patients on enteral tube feeding (ETF) are being cared for in the community. This study surveyed patients receiving home ETF (HETF) in order to provide a clinical profile of patients, compare energy requirements with actual intake and to assess the patients’ and carers’ perspective.Method: A structured interview conducted with patients and carers in their homes or nursing homes.Results: Thirty-nine patients were studied, 19 living at home and 20 living in nursing homes. Thirty-four patients (87%) were fed via a gastrostomy tube, with the enteral feed being the sole source of nutrition in 29 (74%). The mean length of time on HETF was 18 months (s.d. 14.5 months). It was felt that eight (20%) patients were on feeding regimens that were not suitable for their energy requirements, but there was no significant difference between the patients living at home and those living in a nursing home (P < 0.05). Of those patients and carers at home, 15 (79%) were satisfied that the training they received had adequately prepared them for HETF, however, only 12 (63%) were satisfied with support since discharge, whereas 16 nursing home patients (80%) were satisfied with support.Conclusions: This study profiles adult patients on HETF, highlighting that patients may not be on the most appropriate feeding regimen and the wide range of concerns that patients and carers have relating to their support. The production of a HETF post-discharge protocol, as recommended by the British Association of Enteral and Parenteral Nutrition (Elia, 1994b), would help to address these issues.
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