G-Tube Care: A Step-By-Step Guide

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Contributing Author: on July 26, 2011 - No comments

A step-by-step guide to checking, securing and cleaning your g-tube

Daily care and maintenance of your gastrostomy site and tube are important parts of your tube feeding routine. Keeping the gastrostomy site clean and dry helps to guard against skin irritation and infections. Washing the tube will help it last longer.

STEP 1:  How to check the gastrostomy site

Things to look for:

  • Skin redness (greater than 1/2 inch) around the tube
  • Drainage or leaking
  • Discomfort or pain around the tube*

*Increased redness, drainage or pain can mean the tube or internal or external bolsters are incorrectly positioned or secured. It may also mean an infection. This may be a dangerous situation needing medical attention.

STEP 2: How to secure the g-tube

Tuck the tube gently into clothing. (A tube that is left free to hang will pull on the gastrostomy tract. Over time this can injure the tract and the inside of the stomach).

Use tape on the tube, then pin through the tape tab to the inside of clothing.

Use paper, micropore or other tape that is not “gummy” to tape the tube to the skin or to a skin barrier dressing. (White adhesive tape will leave a sticky material on the tube and skin, which is harder to remove and may cause skin irritation).

STEP 3: Cleaning the gastrostomy site

You may need a clean wash cloth, cotton balls, cotton tip swab, mild soap, and warm water.

  • Wash hands well before and after cleaning the gastrostomy site.
  •  If dressings are used around the tube to cover the skin, these must be removed and discarded first.

Note: Sometimes a dressing is used around a gastrostomy tube for a few days after the tube is placed. After this, a dressing is not routinely needed. Should your tube require the use of a dressing, ask your doctor or nurse how to place dressing correctly.

  • Use half of a clean wash cloth or cotton balls to wash the skin around the tube with mild soap and warm water at least once daily. Clean anytime there is leakage around the tube. To avoid skin irritation and breakdown, the skin must be kept clean and dry.
  • Gently turn and rotate the external bolster to reach all areas of the skin. Be careful not to pull too hard on the tube and external bolster. This can harm the inside of the stomach. 
  • Clean the tube with soap and water at this time also. A cotton tip swab may be used for hard-to-reach areas. 
  • Rinse skin, then dry well with the other half of the clean wash cloth. 
  • Starting on (date) you may clean the gastrostomy site during your regular bath or shower.

Note: For the first 4-6 weeks after placement of a new PEG, bath water should not be so deep that the tube is under the water. Shower water should fall on your back only.  For a balloon, low profile, or older PEG tube you can take a bath or shower as you normally do.

DISCLAIMER: This information is designed for customer use only and does not represent the advice of a medical health professional. Please contact your doctor for explicit advice on your prescription and/or feeding program.

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