A large portion of nursing home residents today receive their nutrition through feeding tubes. While tubal feeding, also known as enteral nutrition, is fairly common place, it is still prone to complications when nursing staff fails to properly perform their duties. This oversight or neglect can then lead to a variety of health complications. To best protect your loved one from the potential negative side effects associated with tubal feeding, take time now to learn about the common issues.

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Issue One: Feeding Tube Placement

Your loved one may have a feeding tube inserted through his or her nose, neck or straight into the small intestine through the abdomen. Regardless of where the staff places the tube, it is of the utmost importance that the staff places the tube carefully and properly. Failure to do so can result in your loved one’s illness or injury, including pneumonia, esophageal perforation, leakage at the insertion site and wound infection.

Issue Two: Feeding Tube Dysfunction

Even if your loved one’s nurse places the feeding tube in the right position, it is still possible for the feeding tube to dysfunction on some level. Some common examples of feeding tube dysfunction include:

  • Clogging
  • Inadvertent removal
  • Unexpected repositioning

Any or all of these complications can arise without proper care and cleaning throughout the use of feeding tubes.

Issue Three: Malabsorption of Nutrients

Regardless of the reason that your love one requires the use of a feeding tube, it is critical that the nursing staff takes great care to assess your loved one’s abdomen on an ongoing basis. This will help ensure that your loved one’s body can still absorb the nutrients provided through the tube and does not suffer from malnutrition. Failure to make these assessments or to adjust the amount your loved one receives is an act of nursing home abuse and neglect and can result in health complications such as feeding-tube-induced diarrhea.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Loved One

Make sure you ask questions about the feeding tube, including how the tube works, how your loved one’s body is handling the nutrients, and what steps the staff is taking to prevent feeding tube issues. Also, visit your loved one during meal times to make sure he or she is at an appropriate angle to avoid increased risk of aspiration of contents coming through the tube. Finally, watch for signs of dysfunction such as leaking, as well as signs of infection. Your loved one will benefit from your physical presence and your presence of mind.

Contact us at (847) 869-9100 to make arrangements to discuss your case with our attorney today.