Commonly referred to as "tube feeding," enteral nutrition is the delivery of nutrients through a nasogastric, gastrostomy or jejunostomy tube to the stomach or small intestine when an individual:
- is too ill to eat enough calories orally to maintain nutritional status,
- has a decreased appetite,
- has difficulty swallowing, or
- has had surgery that interferes with the ability to eat.
Enteral nutrition can be given as bolus feeding, continuous feeding or a combination of both.
Before initiating specialized nutritional support, there is a review of the resident's advance directives regarding the use of artificial nutrition and hydration. The decision to use a feeding tube must address the risks and benefits involved. It is as important to identify those individuals who can benefit from enteral nutrition as it is to identify those in whom it offers no advantage over careful hand feeding.
This webpage includes best practice guidelines, presentations, handouts and references for enteral nutrition.
Resources Created by DADS
Evidence-based Best Practice: Enteral Nutrition (PDF) includes the benefits and risks of enteral nutrition, assessment, care planning, management and treatment, and education.
Best Practice Guidelines for Administering Enteral Nutrition (PDF) includes administration techniques.
Enteral Nutrition Medication Administration Guidelines, includes medication administration techniques for enteral nutrition.
Enteral Nutrition Assessment and Administration Guidelines includes steps for advance care planning; comprehensive care plans; risks, benefits and alternatives to enteral nutrition; proper enteral nutrition techniques; and potential complications involved with enteral nutrition. The target audience is clinical staff.
Best Practice Enteral Nutrition Techniques (PDF) provides information on evidence-based best practice techniques and recommendations for providing and managing enteral nutrition for individuals living in long-term care facilities.
Example of Care Plan for Enteral Nutrition (PDF) is a sample care plan for enteral nutrition that includes a scenario, measurable goals, and individualized interventions for the individual with an enteral feeding tube.
Enteral Nutrition Education Form (PDF) is a sample form for clinical staff that includes the potential benefits and risks, burdens, and alternatives to enteral nutrition.
Resources 2013 (PDF) is a literature review and references for best practices for enteral nutrition.
Resources from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Resources from Other Organizations
- Do Not Crush List Published by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, this handout identifies the oral forms of medications that should not be crushed prior to administration.