**I am not medically trained, this post is from a parent’s point of view and experience**
Nasogastric intubation is a medical process involving the insertion of a plastic tube (nasogastric tube or NG tube) through the nose, past the throat, and down into the stomach.
At some point in your child’s life / your life, there may come a time when swallowing may become difficult or weight gain may become slower. If other options have failed you may have had a discussion with your doctor about having a feeding tube fitted / gastrostomy procedure (I will talk about this on my next blog post).
From experience, my daughter started to aspirate her food very early on, not long after diagnosis, she had a chest infection every two weeks and finally they realised it was due to this reason. Personally I was grateful for a diagnosis and that having a feeding tube fitted would stop her being so ill and help her gain weight.
Following her videofleuroscopy in the November, we had an appointment through to have her nasal tube fitted in the December. This was a 2-3 day stay at the hospital whereby they inserted the tube up her nose, into the stomach and talked through how to set feeds up and we had time to consult with the dietician about the feeding plan. Whilst at the hospital, I was given the option as to whether I wanted to learn how to insert the feeding tube myself. This was something I definitely wanted to do. The more procedures I could do myself, the less appointments and time at hospital we would need and the less use of NHS resources. Before we left the hospital I was taught how to do it and I had to repeat the procedure 3 times to become competent and signed off.
This may differ at each hospital, however, if you do get the option to do it, it’s really not as scary and difficult as you may fear. Your child may also be more settled and less upset with you doing the procedure, but this is totally your choice, there is nothing wrong with not wanting to do the procedure yourself, it f it worries you / scares you of if you just don’t want to do it then that’s fine. If you do decide to learn, there is a guiding wire in the tube so once you get the hang of it, it can take just moments to change. You will be given strips of litmus paper to test the fluid which comes out of the tube check that the tube is in position also.
**PLEASE BE MINDFUL THAT YOU SHOULD NEVER ATTEMPT THIS PROCEDURE UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN SIGNED OFF AS COMPETANT BY A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL AND IF IN ANY DOUBT CONTACT YOUR HOSPITAL ASAP**
The tube will have to be fixed to your child’s face to stop it from moving around, this can sometimes cause skin complications but generally if you care for the area well, there should be minimal disruption to the taped area and there are lots of types of dressings available to help with this. Personally we used duederm as a base next to the skin and then a lighter tape over this and the tube to hold it in place.
Once you are discharged from hospital and you are ‘on your own’, things might feel daunting and confusing at first. Take things slowly and take time to readjust to the new way of feeding your child, eventually it WILL become second nature and you’ll be able to do it in your sleep.
– The tube can be used for administering medication so things such as salbutamol and antibiotics are easy to give.
– Should your child become ill and not want to eat, they have the option of maintaining their strength and blood sugars by being fed this way.
– It can be used to drain the contents of your childs stomach (nasogastric aspiration, should they swallow air or secretions
– Tube can be worn in the bath / swimming etc so you can just crack on with normal daily life
– Can be accepted into nursery / school whilst wearing them etc
– Skin irritations
– Sore throat
– Potential for it to come out and having to make extra hospital trips if you’re not trained
– Nose bleeds
There are times when you will get stares from other children and even adults but the majority of the time people are just curious and we never faced any negativity. We openly talked about her tube and were happy to answer any questions that came our way.
Like I said before though, any new procedure can be daunting and nerve racking and you may feel like you may not be able to cope but there is support available in the community and online and if you or your child needs a tube then you know it is for the best for their health to help them thrive.