Home tube feeding: an integrated multidisciplinary approach
Long-term enteral tube feeding is increasingly required by patients in the community setting. A previous study of 50 adults on home enteral tube feeding in the Dublin area found that some experienced logistical problems and many individuals did not choose to seek advice from their GP regarding their tube feeding.Aims
To assess the contribution of health professionals to the care of patients on enteral tube feeding in the community.Methods
GPs and hospital dietitians were surveyed using postal questionnaires and nutritional company representatives using structured interviews, to assess their involvement with patients on home tube feeding. Completed questionnaires were received from 77 dietitians and 80 GPs. Ten company representatives were interviewed.Results
Hospital dietitians carry out most of the initial education and training of patients, in addition to the nutritional aftercare. General practitioners tend not to be involved, although nutrition specialists working in the nutritional products area report encountering patients with tube-feeding complications in the community.Conclusions
Improved co-ordination between hospital and community services and more consistent monitoring of those on home enteral tube feeding would be an advantage to such patients.