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|Tube Feeding Tips: Preventing Leakage|
Securing a Tube, Preventing Leakage
One of my biggest initial concerns—and challenges—as a new tube user was how to safely secure my dangling tube between feedings. The second was how to prevent fluid loss from a leaking port. My first two tubes did not leak from the port, so I didn’t see that challenge coming. I now use two low-tech methods to keep my tube secured in place and keep it from leaking at the port.
To contain the feeding tube and give it a safe zone, I use an abdominal binder that I wear all the time. It is a stretch band and attaches with Velcro. After I have cleaned around the stoma, I wrap the 3” binder around my abdomen, securing my tube under it. Binders can be purchased in varying widths. Mine started out as a 9” binder with 3” sections stitched together in a way that they could be cut apart and not ravel. I wrap it around my abdomen next to my skin, under all my other clothing. That way the tube is never left dangling. Even using the toilet does not disturb it.
My binder is made by Dale (www.dalemed.com/prod/abdominalbinder.html). You should also be able to find a binder through your hospital pharmacy or rehab supplier. I have normally sensitive skin and my binder does not irritate me. Also, I cut mine apart at the sections, so I have three washable binders that I wear constantly. Repeated washings make them softer.
Now, my solution to the leaking port. Between feedings (or meal times!), I use a twister/tie, like the ones that come on bread bags and with garbage bags. I crimp my tube, twist the tie onto it, put the tube back under my binder and I am set. The twisters that are wire with paper over them work better for me than the plastic. They can be twisted tighter. With practice I have even become adept at reusing them by sliding them on and off. The crimping of the tube has not damaged it, and I retain my fluids and nutrition! As a bonus, the crimping even eliminates the dangling during showers.
Editor’s note: While Marie hasn’t had problems, we are not sure if the wire in the twister/tie will cause damage to the tube over time.
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Feeding Tube Awareness Week
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Oley exhibit at A.S.P.E.N.'s Clinical Nutrition Week