How to Gravity Feed – Enteral Nutrition Instructions from Shield HealthCare

How to Gravity Feed – Enteral Nutrition Instructions from Shield HealthCare


Hi, my name is Amy Long Carrera, Corporate Dietitian at Shield HealthCare. Today, we’re going to talk about how to gravity feed. Gravity feeding is a way to deliver
formula into your feeding tube, using a gravity bag. This method delivers formula more slowly through your feeding tube than the syringe method. or the “bolus” feeding
method. That’s because you use a feeding bag that has a roller clamp on the tubing
to control the rate of formula. Most people that gravity feed take a meal every few
hours during the day, with each meal lasting about 30 to 60 minutes. To
gravity feed, you will need: a 60 mL “catheter tip” or “oral” syringe,
a cup of room temperature water, the formula, a gravity feeding bag, and an IV pole. Always wash your hands before handling the tube or any supplies. If you have a low profile
feeding tube, the first thing you need to do is prime the extension set
before attaching it to the feeding tube. Priming the extension set removes any
air that could otherwise enter your stomach and cause discomfort. The first
thing you’ll do is to remove the plunger from the syringe and attach the syringe
to your extension tube. Pour in 10-15 mL of water, and allow it to
flow just to the end of the tubing. Next, clamp the extension tubing. Now
you’re ready to attach it to your feeding tube. If you have a regular gastrostomy tube, flush your tube with water. This will help to push anything through
that might be stuck in the tubes from your previous feeding. To flush your tube with water: remove the plunger from the syringe. Next, take your syringe and attach it to your
feeding tube. Now you’ll pour in 10 to 15 mL of water into the syringe,
and let it flow through your tube. Now go ahead and grab your formula container. You’ll want to shake it and clean off the top before you open it. First, close the clamp
on the gravity feeding bag. Open the bag, and pour in the desired amount of formula. You’ll want to carefully squeeze the air out of the bag before you close it. Go
ahead and hang the bag on the IV pole. The next thing we want to do is prime
the bag’s tubing to remove air. This will prevent air in the tubing from going
into your stomach and making you uncomfortable. Slowly open the roller
clamp, and allow the formula to flow until it reaches the tip of the tubing. Now close the clamp, remove the cover on the tip of the gravity bag’s tubing. Now you’ll attach
the tip of the tubing to your feeding port. Slowly open the roller clamp to start
feeding. You can control the rate of feeding by adjusting the roller clamp. It should take between 30 to 60 minutes to deliver about 8 ounces of formula using the gravity feeding method. This depends on your tolerance. You can speed up the feeding by opening the roller
clamp, or you can slow it down by closing the roller clamp on the tubing.
You may need to slow down your formula if you experience nausea or fullness
during a feeding. You may also need to slow down your formula if you have diarrhea
or an upset stomach immediately after feeding. When you’re done feeding, remove
the gravity bag tubing from your feeding tube. Be sure to always flush
your feeding tube with the amount of water recommended by your doctor or your
dietitian. Close the feeding port. If you have a low profile feeding tube, remove the extension tubing. Be sure to always wash your hands, and always wash and air dry
all the equipment that you used. You can refrigerate leftover formula for up to
24 hours. That’s it for today. Thanks for watching! For more tube feeding tips, visit our online community at shieldhealthcare.com