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Tube Feeding Tips: Alternatives to Drain Sponges
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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:

  • layers of absorbent material to wick away the drainage from the exit site, lessening the skin irritation at the site,

  • a plastic outer layer to protect the clothing from soiled drain sponges, and

  • their cost effectiveness compared to using drain sponges.

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.

—Diane Owens
9 Oak Street
Marion, MA 02738

Editor’s note: We recommend avoiding “deodorant” maxi-pads.

more Calendar

2/6/2017 » 2/10/2017
Feeding Tube Awareness Week

2/18/2017 » 2/21/2017
Oley exhibit at A.S.P.E.N.'s Clinical Nutrition Week

This website is an educational resource. It is not intended to provide medical advice or recommend a course of treatment. You should discuss all issues, ideas, suggestions, etc. with your clinician prior to use. Clinicians in a relevant field have reviewed the medical information; however, the Oley Foundation does not guarantee the accuracy of the information presented, and is not liable if information is incorrect or incomplete. If you have questions please contact Oley staff.

 

Updated in 2015 with a generous grant from Shire, Inc. 

 

This website was updated in 2015 with a generous grant from Shire, Inc. This website is an educational resource. It is not intended to provide medical advice or recommend a course of treatment. You should discuss all issues, ideas, suggestions, etc. with your clinician prior to use. Clinicians in a relevant field have reviewed the medical information; however, the Oley Foundation does not guarantee the accuracy of the information presented, and is not liable if information is incorrect or incomplete. If you have questions please contact Oley staff.
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