Transforming Care with Home Tube Feeding
The Southern area is the first Trust in Northern Ireland to provide a dedicated service to support people who use tube feeding in their own homes.The service is making a big difference to the lives of 111 people who otherwise would have to attend hospital with tube related issues.
Tube feeding is used to provide nutrition to people who have lost their ability to swallow or need nutritional support due to an underlying condition.
Two Dietitians co-ordinate the unique service which is supporting the increasing number of adults who receive tube feeding in the community.
Eighty one year old Isobel Stevenson from Dromore has used a tube for feeding for the past seven years due to swallowing difficulties. Isobel says: “It is so handy to have my feeding tube changed at home. It means I don’t have to rely on anyone to take me to hospital. The staff are very friendly and professional. I always have the assurance that I can phone them if I have any problems with my feeding tube.”
Angela McVeigh, Director of Older People and Primary Care for the Southern Trust said: “Since we set up the home tube feeding service we are really transforming the care of people who need this support. By helping them to manage their tube feeding in their own homes, we are able to make life a little bit easier for people, giving them greater independence, dignity and improving their quality of life.
“We now have a core team of Dietitians, District Nurses, Twilight Nurses, and Community Learning Disability Nurses who are trained to deal with tube related problems including replacement of feeding tubes in the community. Since the service has begun we have been able to prevent 853 hospital attendances. More importantly, patients and carers find it much less stressful knowing that they have access to specialist expertise in their own homes if they have a problem.”
Pictured are Home Enteral Tube Feeding Coordinators, Ashleigh Nelson and Rachel Wright with Isobel Stevenson from Dromore.