Some people experience problems in eating and drinking. This may be due to swallowing or respiratory problems, loss of appetite, nausea, mouth pain, dental problems or neurological conditions that affect the behavioural mechanisms of eating and drinking.
Assisted feeding is about working with your current health condition, exploring the limitations of how your body can consume and absorb food, and exploring options of how to feed it optimal nutrition. Specialised dietary supplements, with optimised nutrition, or different textures, may be suitable for certain conditions. Postural positions of the head or body may be necessary for some people, while swallowing techniques and food consistency may be relevant for others.
Nasogastric feeding involves a special tube that carries food to the stomach through the nose. A common type of assisted feeding, required in severe cases, is known as enteral feeding, where a mixture of optimal nutrition is fed directly into the stomach or intestine.
Different types of cancer might induce eating and drinking problems, and may involve surgery and radiation treatment on the head, neck and throat areas.
The site of oral cancers, and the possible impairment of the oesophagus due certain cancers or treatment, may lead to difficulties in maintaining an ideal body weight, and receiving a sufficient amount of nutrients.
A feeding tube is used in order for the patient to receive the essential nutrients and vitamins. Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) is a medical technique, where a tube bypasses the mouth and oesophagus, and is placed directly into the stomach as way of providing enteral nutrition.
This allows patients to receive ‘shots’ of balanced nutrition to help the body heal and repair. Monitoring of weight, eating behaviour and optimal nutrition can be provided by our clinical dietician.
Our clinical dietician provides assisted feeding support for all conditions and presentations, to ensure clients receive the optimal levels of nutrients in their diet, and the reassurance needed to manage what can sometimes be, stressful and frightening health conditions.
Caring for a loved one who requires assisted feeding can be a struggle. We offer support for carers, by providing a place where they can learn some tips and skills to better manage the situation, as well as providing a place to vent frustration, fear and other feelings.