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Gastrostomy Feeding Tube Care: Flushing

With gastrostomy tube feeding, you need to keep the tube from getting clogged by flushing it with warm water after each feeding and before and after giving any medicines.

There are different types of gastrostomy feeding tubes. One type has a connection that lets you plug or push the syringe into the feeding tube port. A newer type has a twist-on safety connector. The twist-on safety connector means you must use a specific type of syringe that twists onto your feeding tube port. Check with your care team to make sure you are following the steps for your specific type of gastrostomy tube. 

Plug-in syringe and tube

Image of feeding tube

 

Image of feeding tube

Twist-on syringe and tube
For continuous feeding

Flush the feeding tube with warm water and a clean syringe before the first daily feeding, after the last daily feeding, and other times as instructed. Follow the steps below:

  • Fill a clean bowl with warm water.

  • Put the tip of the syringe in the water.

  • Draw up 50 cc of water.

  • Turn off the pump.

  • Close the clamp on the feeding bag tubing.

  • Remove the tubing from the port.

  • Put the tip of the syringe in the feeding port.

    • Plug-in port. If you have a plug-in feeding tube port, push the tip of the syringe into the feeding tube port.

    • Twist-on port. If you have a twist-on feeding tube port, screw the syringe tip onto your feeding port.

  • Push the plunger down.

  • Let the water run through the feeding tube.

  • Start the feeding or close the cap on the feeding port.

  • Tape the tube to the skin with medical tape.

Plug-in syringe and tube

 

Image of feeding tube

Image of feeding tube

 

 

Twist-on syringe and tube

For bolus feeding

You may be told to flush the feeding tube before and after each feeding, or just after feedings. Use a clean syringe and warm water. Follow the steps below:

  • Fill a clean bowl with warm water.

  • Put the tip of the syringe in the water.

  • Draw up 50 cc of water (tap water is OK to use). 

  • Open the cap on the feeding port.

  • Put the tip of the syringe in the feeding port.

    • Plug-in port. If you have a plug-in type feeding tube port, push the tip of the syringe into the feeding tube port.

    • Twist-on port. If you have a twist-on feeding tube port, screw the syringe tip onto your feeding port.

  • Push down on the plunger. Let the water run through the tube.

     

  • Close the cap.

  • Tape the tube to the skin with medical tape.

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