- •Placing and verifying NGT placement is commonly done by parents in the home.
- •Incorrect NGT verification in the home setting can cause life threatening sequela in children.
- •Parents are taught to replace NGTs in home based on what the nurse taught, which causes inconsistencies in procedures.
- •There is no accepted standard of care for replacement and verification of NGT in the home.
Enteral feeding tubes are used in pediatric patients to deliver nutrition, fluids or medications. The literature related to short-term feeding tube (nasogastric [NG], hereafter known as NGT, or orogastric [OGT],) use in pediatric homecare patients is sparse. This descriptive study sought to gather baseline information about these children and how their feeding tubes are managed at home. Specifically, we sought to better understand how the tubes are placed and the method(s) used for tube placement verification. Two surveys were distributed: one to parents and one to homecare providers who have direct patient contact.
Responses were obtained from 144 parents and 66 homecare providers. Over half of the children were 12 months of age or younger and had a 6 Fr feeding tube. Over 75% (108) had an NGT for 1 year or less. Predominantly parents replaced the NGT but a few children self-inserted their tubes. Feeding tube placement was verified by auscultation (44%) or measurement of gastric pH (25%) in the parent's survey. Twenty-six percent of parents indicated they had misplaced an NGT at least once and 35 parents described symptoms of pulmonary misplacement. The homecare provider data indicated auscultation (39%) and pH measurement of gastric contents (28%) to verify NG tube placement location.
Study results confirms a need for consistency of practice among health care professionals and in parent education for those children who require NGTs at home. It is troubling that auscultation is still widely used for NGT location confirmation despite practice alerts that warn against its use.
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Published online: February 07, 2017
Accepted: January 18, 2017
Received in revised form: December 29, 2016
Received: May 23, 2016
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