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|Tube Feeding Tips: Syringe Alternative|
As a polio survivor, one of my priorities must be to prevent overuse damage. Thus I’m constantly looking for ways to prevent putting undue stress on my body. These tips might help tube users with arthritis and other degenerative conditions.
After a few months of bolus feedings with a 60 cc syringe and plunger, I realized that continuing to hold my syringe, use the plunger, and open the tab top cans would ruin my hands — my ticket to independence. The repetitive motion and pressure of the feedings were doing me in. I tried Kangaroo bags on a pole, but that didn’t work. So I asked for a home health occupational therapist (OT) who had experience with feeding-tube users. She and I began looking for simple alternatives to do feedings, such as a makeshift syringe holder that I could comfortably connect from a sitting position.
I discovered a hair dryer holder (see photo) in the Wright Stuff catalogue (www.wrightstuff.biz or 877-750-0376) and the OT custom-molded a piece from splinting material that would fit it and hold the syringe. I have used the adapted feeding-tube holder for over a year. The base slips under my legs and anchors firmly in place.
I also found a “3-in-1” can opener that takes all the stress off my wrist and fingers (www.pattersonmedical.com). My OT identified appropriate wrist and hand splints and customized them for me. All these small changes have enabled me to keep doing my own feedings with no stress on my body.