June 16, 2016

Enteral

Epic Medical Solutions is here to care for all of your family’s enteral nutrition needs. Please use the tips in this educational blog to make sure the tubie in your life receives optimal nutrition care.

Enteral formula and the supplies required to support patients with feeding tubes must be properly cared for to maintain the nutritional quality of formula and to ensure feeding pumps operate at their peak performance.

How to store nutritional formulas:

  • Store formula in a cool, dry area with limited temperature fluctuations.
  • Avoid exposing liquid formula to extended extreme temperatures (below 32 degrees and above 95 degrees) or it may clump or change in consistency.
  • Do not freeze formula as this will change the consistency, could cause formula to clump.
  • Opened cans of powdered formula should be used within one month of opening the container. The contents will not spoil but the vitamins and fatty acids will diminish in quality and quantity over time.

How long can prepared formula be safely stored?

  • Prepared powdered formula can be stored for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
  • Unused formula from a can or brik container can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.

Caring for your feeding pump

  • The feeding pumps used in the home are sturdy and standup well to daily use. If formula is spilled onto the pump, you can use some soapy water, multipurpose household cleanser, or a 5% bleach solution to clean the pump.
  • Use a damp cotton swab to clean the area where the enteral feeding bag tubing is inserted, as the tracks often get coated with dried formula and it can cause the pump to malfunction.
  • DO NOT submerge the pump in water!
  • Feeding pumps need to undergo preventive maintenance every two years to ensure accuracy and optimal performance.

Supplies organization

Managing your enteral nutrition supplies can get overwhelming, so create a system that works for you. A little organizational planning goes a long way!

  • Identify a central location to store your supplies.
  • Some caregivers find using plastic containers to be a good solution to hold syringes, extension sets, and feeding bags.
  • Rotate your stock of supplies; this is especially important for formula.
  • Plan accordingly when ordering supplies so that you do not have too much or too little on hand.
  • Put together a travel bag with everything you need to hit the road. This will save you time when you are going on a vacation or making a trip to the doctor’s office, and it will assure you have not forgotten anything.

Discarding excess supplies

Sometimes your enteral prescription may change or a new type of supply is needed, which may leave you with supplies that you no longer need. Instead of throwing them away, consider donating your extra medical supplies. Many local food banks will gladly accept oral nutritional products like PediaSure, Ensure, or Boost. To donate other supplies and tube feeding formulas, the following organizations are great options:

  • The Oley Foundation Equipment Exchange Program
    A place to connect individuals in need of formula, pumps, and other supplies with families who have items to donate. More information can be found at www.oley.org/equipexchange or you can call 800-776-6539.
  • The Medical Equipment Exchange DME
    This is a Facebook group that allows member to donate or exchange medical supplies.

 

Should you have questions or need to order supplies, contact Epic Medical Solutions today!