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Living with a feeding tube

Tube feeding means nutrition are taken through a tube that goes directly to the stomach or small intestine. A person living with a feeding tube usually has a condition or injury that prevents eating a regular diet by mouth. Tube feeding could be initiated due to various reasons, it can be either short term due to surgery or long term due to diseases such as Parkinson, stroke or some other critical illnesses that causes insufficient oral intake.

When doctor tells you that you need to live with tube, it could be a life-changing event. The journey could be tough, not only for the patient but the emotional stress experienced by the care giver should also be addressed.

Situation in comic:

  1. Ayah discharge dengan tube feeding, Amy is calculating her expenses, please includes pampers (10s, RM21.75), milk formula (850g, RM86.90) etc.

  2. In her thought – macam mana I boleh kurangkan expenses untuk tube feeding, belilah susu “EveryD” dekat tesco lah” (1.6kg, RM46.50)

Care givers for patients who discharged with tube feeding are experiencing s a large physical and economic burden. The feeding regimes are typically prescribed every four hours, which equates to six feeds every 24-hour period. The feeding tubes require replacement at least every six weeks not accounting for additional replacements in the event of dislodgement.

The average cost of milk feeds alone is estimated at RM1100 – RM1300 a month, not accounting for the cost of care or medical expenses. Under these rather challenging circumstances, it is not surprising that our older individuals on long term tube feeding had significantly poorer nutritional status due to insufficient feeding regime or modify feeding using commercial milk and blenderised diet in order to reduce the expenses of tube feeding.

As a healthcare professional, we often focus on ideal intervention and overlooked the difficulty in terms of financial and hassle experiences during the daily care process. Hence, as a dietitian, I am grateful and appreciative that Alpro Foundation has gone beyond the needs and subsidise families in need throughout the tube feeding journey of their loved ones. Thank you!

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