An exploration of the experiences and attitudes of healthcare professionals towards enteral tube feeding for adults living in the community following stroke

Konstantinos Eleftheriadis, Angela Madden

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Abstract

Background
Guidelines recommend enteral feeding via gastrostomy should be considered for adult survivors of stroke with dysphagia who cannot eat or drink sufficiently for >4 weeks. Many people continue long-term tube-feeding via this route in the community where healthcare professionals contribute to their care and nutritional management, although little is known about their experiences of or attitudes towards enteral feeding in this situation. The present study aimed to explore the experiences and attitudes of healthcare professionals working with this patient group.

Methods
Healthcare professionals were invited to complete a questionnaire devised for the study which comprised closed and open questions about tube-feeding including their patients' participation in feeding processes and mealtimes and how these might be improved. Responses to closed questions were analysed descriptively and free-text responses analysed using thematic analysis.

Results
Fifty-seven participants met the inclusion criteria. They identified patients' quality of life (77% of respondents) and nutritional support (75%) as the most important aspects of tube-feeding. Good communication and training with healthcare teams and carers were considered important. Their patients' participation in tube-feed administration and mealtime involvement were described as variable and potentially beneficial, but both were related to patients' choice and health impairment. Blended tube-feeding was considered an option by 89% provided practical and safety conditions were met.

Conclusions
Participants' experiences of and attitudes towards tube feeding in adults living with stroke in the community in the sample in the present study are varied and focussed on individual patients' needs, safety and professional standards.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13320
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
Early online date22 May 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 May 2024

Keywords

  • Enteral feeding; stroke; community; blended feeding
  • enteral feeding
  • community
  • stroke
  • blended feeding

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