Agency for Clinical Innovation. ACI Nutrition Network Guidelines for Home Enteral Nutrition (HEN) Services. 2nd edn. A clinician's guide. Caring for people with gastrostomy tubes and devices. From pre insertion to ongoing care and removal. 2015. (accessed 19 June 2019)

BAPEN. BANS Report 2018. Home enteral tube feeding (HETF) in adults (2010-2015) 2018. (accessed 14 June 2019)

Care Quality Commission. Administering medicines safely via enteral feeding tubes. 2018. (accessed 19 June 2019)

Curtis K. Caring for adults who require nasogastric feeding tubes. Nursing Standard. 2013; 27:(38)47-56

Druml C, Ballmer P, Druml W ESPEN guideline on ethical aspects of artificial nutrition and hydration. Clin Nutr. 2016; 35:(3)545-556

PEG tubes: dealing with complications. 2014. (accessed 12 June 2019)

National Patient Safety Agency. Patient Safety Alert 05. Reducing the harm caused by misplaced nasogastric feeding tubes. 2005. (accessed 12 June 2019)

National Patient Safety Agency. Patient Safety Alert NPSA/2011/PSA002: reducing the harm caused by misplaced nasogastric feeding tubes in adults, children and infants. 2011. (accessed 12 June 2019)

Rapid response report NPSA/2012/RRR001. Harm from flushing nasogastric tubes before confirmation of placement.London: NPSA; 2012

NHS Improvement. Patient safety alert. Nasogastric tube misplacement: continuing risk of death and severe harm. 2016. (accessed 21 June 2019)

Simons S, Remington R. The percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube: a nurses guide to PEG tubes. Medsurg Nursing. 2013; 22:(2)77-83

Is your feeding tube clogged? Maintenance of gastrostomy and gastrojejunostomy tubes. 2016. (accessed 19 June 2019)

Troubleshooting PEG feeding tubes in the community setting. 2017. (accessed 12 June 2019)

Turgay AS, Khorshid L. Effectiveness of the auscultatory and pH methods in predicting feeding tube placements. J Clin Nurs. 2010; 19:(11-12)1553-1559

Enteral feeding tubes: an overview of nursing care

27 June 2019
Volume 28 · Issue 12


This article provides a brief overview of the most common types of enteral feeding tubes, their placement and the problems that may be encountered in the care of patients with tubes in situ. It is important that nurses are aware of safety aspects around the insertion and maintenance of feeding tubes, and acquaint themselves with safety guidelines and local policies to ensure that patients do not come to any harm. They must also ensure that they have appropriate training to make certain that they are competent.

In recent years there has been a plethora of guidance about the safe insertion and general care of enteral feeding tubes. However, nurses continue to be concerned about many aspects. This article provides some strategies to deal with some of the most common problems nurses will encounter when caring for patients with enteral feeding tubes, as well as looking at national guidance around the safe care of these tubes.

An enteral feeding tube is one that allows feed to be administered via a tube directly into the stomach or the small bowel (Druml et al, 2016). It is used in individuals who have functioning guts but who are unable to meet their nutritional requirements orally. A report by BAPEN's British Artificial Nutrition Survey (BAPEN, 2018) suggested that there are about 3216 patients in the community receiving enteral tube feeding. There is a wide variety of tubes and the most common devices are listed in Table 1.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting British Journal of Nursing and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for nurses. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to clinical or professional articles

  • Unlimited access to the latest news, blogs and video content