How to Give Medication Through a Feeding Tube
The feeding tube is sometimes used to administer to those patients who have difficulty swallowing. Medications may be prescribed in liquid form to go through the tube easily. Some medications may only be available in pill form and need to be crushed small enough to go through the tube without clogging it.
Giving the medication:
- Wash your hands before handling the tubing and medication.
- Crush pills and dissolve them in 1⁄2 cup room temperature water or pour the prescribed amount of liquid medicine into a small cup.
- Unclamp the feeding tube.
- Uncap the end of the feeding tube.
Check the tube for proper placement to be sure it is safe to give the feeding.
o Attach a 60 cc syringe to the end of the feeding tube and pull back on the plunger. You will probably feel some resistance.
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o Within a few seconds you should be able to see stomach fluid (it will be yellow-green) enter the tubing. If you can’t remove any fluid, help the patient move and turn a little. Try again to draw up some fluid.
o Always put back in anything you draw out of the stomach by pushing in the plunger. If you do not see stomach fluid, do not continue and call your nurse.
- Remove the plunger from the syringe. Put the end of the syringe into the opening of the tube. Raise the syringe above the level of the stomach, but not more the 12 inches above the stomach.
- Slowly pour 50-60 cc (1/4 cup) warm water, letting it drain in by gravity. If the water flows in easily, then follow with the medicine. If the water does not flow easily, raise or lower the height of the syringe.
- Pour 50-60 cc (1/4 cup) of warm water to clear the tube when you have finished giving the medicine.
- Clamp off the tube and remove the syringe or funnel.
- Plug or cap the end of the tube.
- Wash the syringe and plunger in warm, soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Air dry and store in a clean covered container.
Ask your nurse to complete the following:
Medications that can be crushed:
Medications that should not be crushed or put in a feeding tube:
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