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Discharge Instructions: Caring for Your Gastrostomy Tube (G-Tube)

Illustration showing a G-tube inserted through the abdominal wall

You have been discharged with a gastrostomy tube, or G-tube. The G-tube was inserted through your abdominal wall and into your stomach to provide you with food, fluids, and medication. Your G-tube may move in and out slightly. If the tube comes out all the way, don’t put it back in. Call your doctor immediately (not the next morning) as the G-tube tracts through the skin close very quickly, often within 24 hours.

General Guidelines for Use

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before starting your feeding.

  • During the feeding and for 1 hour after, sit in a chair or sit up in bed.

  • Before feeding begins, check to see that your stomach is empty.

    • Insert the tip of an empty syringe into the end of the G-tube.

    • Pull back to withdraw contents of the stomach.

    • Don’t begin the feeding if more than 100 ml remains from the previous feeding.

  • Clean the area around the tube with mild soap and water.

  • Pat the area dry during bathing and as needed.

  • Clean the area more often if it becomes wet or weepy.

  • Keep the flange a few millimeters off the skin (just enough room to accommodate a gauze sponge). Pulling the flange too tightly can damage the skin, but leaving the flange too loose leads to leaking around the G-tube. The medical team will cover these guideliens prior to hospital discharge.

 

The name of my feeding supplement/formula is:

___________________________________________

 

Amount per feeding: 

___________________________________________

 

Times per day:

___________________________________________

 

Amount of water used to flush tube:

___________________________________________

Gravity Feeding Method

  • Fill the feeding bag with the prescribed amount of formula and run the fluid to the end of the tube to clear out any air. Clamp the tube.

  • Connect the end of the feeding bag tubing to the G-tube.

  • Hang the bag at least 18 inches above the level of your G-tube.

  • Open the clamp and allow the formula to flow into the G-tube.

  • Follow with the prescribed amount of water.

  • After each feeding, rinse the bag and tubing. Every 24 hours, wash with soapy water and rinse thoroughly.

Pump Feeding Method

  • Fill the feeding bag with the prescribed amount of formula and run the fluid to the end of the tube to clear out any air. Clamp the tube.

  • Connect the end of the feeding bag tubing to the G-tube. Set the pump rate of flow to the prescribed rate per hour.

  • Open the clamp on the tubing; press the start button on your pump.

  • When feeding is complete, disconnect the feeding set.

  • Connect the tip of an empty syringe to the feeding tube and slowly push in the prescribed amount of water.

  • After each feeding, rinse the bag and tubing. Every 24 hours, wash with soapy water and rinse thoroughly.

Syringe Feeding Method

  • Remove the plunger from a syringe and connect the syringe to the G-tube.

  • Hold the syringe upright and pour the formula into the syringe.

  • Refill the syringe as the formula reaches the bottom of the syringe.

  • Repeat the process until the prescribed amount of formula is given.

  • Follow the feeding with the prescribed amount of water.

  • After each feeding, rinse the bag and tubing. Every 24 hours, wash with soapy water and rinse thoroughly.

Illustration showing a person removing the plunger from the syringe Illustration showing a person attaching the syringe to the G-tube Illustration showing a person pouring the formula into the syringe Illustration showing a person pushing the plunger down.

Follow-Up

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

When to Call Your Doctor

 

 

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • A tube that is dislodged from the stomach, call immediately

  • Vomiting

  • Fever above 101.5°F (38.5°C)

  • Diarrhea that lasts more than 2 days

  • Signs of infection (redness, swelling, or warmth at the tube site)

  • Drainage from the tube site

 

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