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|Tube Feeding Tips: Alternatives to Drain Sponges|
Low-Cost Alternative to Drain Sponge Dressings
One of the great expenses for those with g-tubes and/or j-tubes, is the cost of drain sponge dressings. These dressings are often not covered by insurance. A box of 4” x 4” drain sponges, costs about $16, and you’ll get 35 or 50 depending on the brand you buy.
Recently I was at the hospital for tests. My dressing was soiled and the site terribly irritated and aggravating. I requested the nurse to find me a gauze pad which I would adapt to a drain sponge by cutting a slit in it.
The nurse asked me if I had ever tried using female sanitary napkins as dressings. She expounded on their benefits:
The nurse prepared a dressing by cutting a sanitary napkin in half. Half is all that is needed for a dressing. She then cut a slit horizontally so it would fit around the tube. It was taped to keep it in place. As you might guess, it worked perfectly.
Here is the financial breakdown: A large package of generic maxi-pads (48 pads) cost me $4.89. You could probably get an even better price at a discount store like BJs or Costco. Each maxi-pad, when cut, provides two dressings. That gave me 96 dressings for $4.89, which works out to be 1/6th or less the cost of regular sponges. For people like me who must change dressings frequently, the savings are phenomenal. Once again the nursing team has provided a practical, inexpensive solution to our everyday, often annoyingly distressful dilemmas.
Editor’s note: We recommend avoiding “deodorant” maxi-pads.