Giving Medicine - Feeding Tube Workbook :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

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Giving Medicine

Giving Your Child Medicines

Medicines and Feeding Tubes

Ask your doctor or nurse where the tip of the feeding tube is in your child’s body. The tip can stay in the stomach or past the stomach. Make sure that the medicine your child is taking is going to the right place. Each time you get medicines filled from the pharmacist, check with the pharmacist that the medicine ordered should be going where the tip of your child’s feeding tube ends.

There are some medicines you cannot mix with each other or feedings unless the doctor or pharmacist says it is okay. If you are giving several medicines, ask your doctor or pharmacist if you can give them in the feeding tube together or if you should flush with water after each medicine.  

Preparing Liquid Medicines
Mix the medicine with tap water. Check with your doctor about how much water to use.  

Preparing Pills or Tablets
Check with your doctor or pharmacist before crushing the pills or tablets.  There are some medicines you should not crush. Crush the medicine into a powder and mix it with tap water. Ask your doctor how much water to use.

Preparing Capsules
Check with your doctor or pharmacist before dissolving capsules.  There are some medicines you should not dissolve. Open the capsule and dissolve powder in tap water. Ask your doctor how much water to use.

Giving the medicine

  1. Prepare
    a. Wash your hands well.  Use soap and water or an alcohol hand cleaner.
    b. Gather all of your supplies:

    - A small cup or glass
    - A small catheter tip syringe
    - Medicine in liquid or powder form
    - Mortar and pestle or a pill crusher
    - Water
    - Spoon

  2. Flush before giving the medicine
    a. Pull up the water into the syringe to flush the feeding tube. (If you don’t know how much water to use, ask the doctor who handles problems with your child’s feeding.)
    b. If the feeding tube does not have a clamp, pinch the tube, open the plug and insert the end of the syringe into the feeding tube (see Picture 1).  If it has a clamp, open it after you insert the syringe (see Picture 2).

    Picture 1: Preparing to flush the gastrostomy feeding tube without a clamp by pinching the tube prior to flushing

    Picture 2: Preparing to flush the low profile feeding tube with a clamp

    c. Slowly push the plunger of the syringe. Flush the water through the feeding tube (see Picture 3 or 4 below).

    Picture 3: Flushing the gastrostomy feeding tube using a syringe

    Picture 4: Flushing the low profile feeding tube using a syringe

    d. Pinch or clamp the G-tube before removing the syringe from the feeding tube. Close the feeding tube plug.
  3. Give the medicine
    a. Draw up the first medicine into the syringe.
    b. If the feeding tube does not have a clamp, pinch the tube, open the plug and insert the end of the syringe into the feeding tube (see Picture 5).  If it has a clamp, open it after you insert the syringe (see Picture 6).

    Picture 5: Preparing to give medicine through the gastrostomy feeding tube without a clamp by pinching the tube prior to giving the medicine

    Picture 6: Preparing to give medicine through the low profile feeding tube with a clamp

    c. Slowly push the plunger of the syringe and push the medicine through the feeding tube (see Picture 7 or 8).

    Picture 7: Giving medicine through the gastrostomy feeding tube

    Picture 8: Giving medicine through the low profile feeding tube

    d. Pinch or clamp the feeding tube before removing the syringe from the feeding tube. Close the feeding tube plug.
  4. Flush after giving the medicine
    a. Pull up the water into the syringe to flush the feeding tube. (If you don’t know how much water to use, ask the doctor who handles problems with your child’s feeding.)
    b. If the feeding tube does not have a clamp, pinch the tube, open the plug and insert the end of the syringe into the feeding tube (see Picture 9).  If it has a clamp, open it after you insert the syringe(see Picture 10).

    Picture 9: Preparing to flush the gastrostomy feeding tube without a clamp by pinching the tube prior to flushing

    Picture 10: Preparing to flush the low profile feeding tube with a clamp

    c. Slowly push the plunger of the syringe and flush the water through the feeding tube. This makes sure that all the medicine is out of the tube (see Picture 11 or 12 below).

    Picture 11: Flushing the gastrostomy feeding tube using a syringe

    Picture 12: Flushing the low profile feeding tube using a syringe

    d. Pinch or clamp the feeding tube before removing the syringe from the feeding tube.
    e. Close the plug or reattach the cap at the end of the feeding tube.
    f. After giving the medicine(s), take the syringe apart.  Wash all equipment with warm, soapy water. Rinse all equipment well.

View and print the Feeding Tube Workbook

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000