Can an RN Replace a Gastrostomy Tube?
A registered nurse (RN) is a licensed nursing professional who has completed an RN program from a nursing school and passed the NCLEX-RN exam. RNs work in a variety of healthcare settings including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and home health care. They provide patients with information about their health conditions, administer medication and perform procedures to promote patient wellness.
A gastrostomy tube or G-tube is a feeding device that provides liquid nutrition, medications and other fluids directly into the stomach. They are also used to vent the stomach for air or drainage.
Many parents and their rns are comfortable changing a G-tube, however some have a more difficult time doing it. In these cases, a g-tube may be replaced by an RN or a LPN.
Can an rn replace your child’s gastrostomy tube?
It is not uncommon for a g-tube to need to be replaced. This can happen when the tube becomes dislodged from the stomach or if there is a problem with how the tube is secured. The rn can either do it themselves or call in a nurse who can take the tube out for them.
The rn or nurse will remove the old g-tube and place the new one in place. The new g-tube is inflated with 8 to 10 mL of sterile water. This helps prevent any leaking from the old tube into the new one. The rn will then close the balloon port. Then a similar size PEG tube is placed in the new track.
If a g-tube is removed by an rn, the balloon may need to be re-inflated with water and re-positioned. This can be done in the hospital or by a home care nurse who has been trained in this process.
Can an rn replace a g-tube if it is not working?
A g-tube that is not working can be dangerous to your child. It can bleed, or the site of the tube may be infected. If this happens, apply pressure to the area for ten minutes to stop the bleeding. If the g-tube does not stop bleeding, contact your child’s doctor or nurse.
Can an rn replace the balloon on your child’s g-tube?
Several different kinds of G-tubes have a balloon on the end that floats inside your child’s stomach. These balloons are inflated with sterile water to help keep the g-tube in place and prevent it from falling out or being dislodged.
Balloon type G-tubes should be checked for a proper fit at least once a week. Connected Care teaches families and home care nurses that they can check the amount of water in a balloon type G-tube by inserting an empty syringe into the port marked “BAL”.
It is normal for less water to be removed than originally put in due to evaporation. This difference can be up to 0.5mL over a week.
Your child should have a spare g-tube of the same size at all times to change it as needed. The g-tube should be changed at least every 3 months or sooner when needed.