Proper Use of Feeding Tubes in Nursing Homes
In some cases, patients need feeding tubes in nursing homes and hospitals. However, if a feeding tube is used or placed incorrectly, very serious problems can result, leading to illness or even death on the part of the nursing home resident.
How Feeding Tubes Work
Generally, feeding tubes are used when a person is unable to swallow and cannot get enough food or liquids. The tube is either put directly into the stomach through the abdomen or is inserted through the nose.
Signs of Feeding Tube Complications
There are warning signs that let nursing home employees know there is something wrong with the feeding tube, and it is crucial that they be area of and act if there is a problem.
Common signs of a feeding tube problem include:
- Tube is blocked
- Cannot ingest food through the tube
- A lot of drainage around the tube
- Tube comes out
- Pain around the tube’s insertion location
- Diarrhea which can cause increased risk of bedsores
- Skin irritation
- Aspiration (in a nose feeding tube)
What Can Happen with Feeding Tube Problems?
The most serious problems with feeding tubes can lead to death. While death is rare, below 1%, the risk increases substantially for the elderly. As a result, feeding tubes in nursing homes, where most of the patients are elderly and/or infirm, can be quite risky. Death from a blockage, perforation, pneumonia, bleeding or infection can occur if the tube is not properly inserted or managed.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to the failure of nursing home staff to properly insert or monitor a feeding tube, you may wish to consider legal action. Contact a nursing home neglect lawyer from Lowenthal & Abrams by calling 888-979-7298 today.