NGT (naso gastric tube) is a type of tube used for medical purposes and is inserted from the nostril to the stomach. Long term NGT use can be at home and requires the family or caregiver to assist in daily care. The objective of home NGT treatment is for the patient can receive the needed intake and avoid further complications.
Medical conditions requiring the patient to use NGT are poor intake, difficulty in swallowing (stroke), loss of consciousness (comatose), and malnutrition. NGT can be used for many supportive needs such as administration of medicine and nutrition for the patient. Besides that, NGT can also be used for diagnostic tools (inserting contrast for radiology and evaluation of upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding) and therapeutical purposes (intoxication and stomach lavage).
The family and caregiver must learn to care for the NGT, especially to avoid infection and complications. The NGT tube must be attached securely using tape to avoid being pulled out. This can occur when the patient changes position, coughs, or vomits.
Steps for NGT feeding are as follows:
- Wash hands before handling NGT
- Position the patient sitting upright or at least at 45° angle
- Start with giving warm drinking water
- Insert the liquid into the tube slowly
- Afterwards, add more warm drinking water to flush the remaining liquid in the tube ensuring it is in a clean condition
- Administer feeding according to schedule and the doctor’s instruction
The cleanliness of the tube and feeding utensils is also important in preventing infection. It must be noted that not all kinds of food or drink can be given to the patient for example rice, porridge, soup, or hot drinks.
Here is how to tend for the skin at NGT insertion site:
- Clean the skin with warm water and clean soft cloth or towel every meal time. Clean also if there is some liquid or secretion in the nostrils using a cotton bud.
- When removing the tape from the nose, damp it using a warm towel for easy removal.
- Change the tape at least once a day or if it is loose, dirty, or wet.
Immediately call the doctor or nurse if:
- There is redness, swollen, or irritation in the nostrils.
- Repeated choking during feeding
- Tube is obstructed
- Tube has come out of the nostrils
- Flatulence or epigastric pain
Home NGT treatment also includes maintaining good teeth and oral hygiene by brushing the teeth regularly at least twice a day (if possible) or aided by the caregiver if the patient is having difficulties. NGT replacement is performed by the registered nurse once a week. Consult the medical team immediately if there are problems in attending the NGT and more questions concerning the feeding regiments.