Enteral Nutrition

Commonly referred to as "tube feeding," enteral nutrition is the delivery of nutrients through a nasogastric, gastrostomy or jejunostomy tube to the stomach or small intestine when an individual:

  • is too ill to eat enough calories orally to maintain nutritional status,
  • has a decreased appetite,
  • has difficulty swallowing, or
  • has had surgery that interferes with the ability to eat.

Enteral nutrition can be given as bolus feeding, continuous feeding or a combination of both.

Before initiating specialized nutritional support, there is a review of the resident's advance directives regarding the use of artificial nutrition and hydration. The decision to use a feeding tube must address the risks and benefits involved. It is as important to identify those individuals who can benefit from enteral nutrition as it is to identify those in whom it offers no advantage over careful hand feeding.

This webpage includes best practice guidelines, presentations, handouts and references for enteral nutrition.

Resources Created by DADS

Resources from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services