Tube-feeding During A Power Outage

Power outages are common and it’s important to have a plan in place to be able to administer tube feedings during an outage, according to the nonprofit group Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation

The two most common problems in a power outage are the inability to charge a feeding pump, and not having access to refrigeration for enteral formula, the organization said. Those who make blenderized meals daily also might not be able to use a blender without power.  

Here are some suggested supplies a feeding patient should keep on hand in the event of a power outage: 
  • Gravity feeding bags   
  • 60ml syringes that can be used for bolus feeds 
  • Shelf-stable formula or commercial blenderized meals 
  • Sterile or distilled water if a patient loses their water source when the power is out 

Some additional supplies that might help include: 

  • Generator 
  • Inverter or DC to AC car charger, to charge the pump in a vehicle 
  • Marine battery with inverter 
  • Cooler and pre-frozen ice packs 
There are several different methods to ensure tube-feeding patients can be nourished during a power outage. These include: 
  • Gravity bags: These bags slowly drip formula by gravity. The roller wheel can be adjusted up or down to control the rate of the feed. This is the best option for children with GJ-tubes and those on continuous feeds.  
  • Syringe: Individuals can continue to receive bolus feeds by syringe as normal during a power outage. If a child is very sensitive to volume, the formula or food can be placed in a syringe and pushed a few milliliters every few minutes.  
  • Running the pump off a generator, marine battery or car charger: Patients also can power their pump with a variety of external sources. Remember to follow all proper protocols so the sources of energy are safe for patients and their equipment. 

“It’s also important to have a list of your doctor’s and other important phone numbers printed somewhere, maybe even posted to the side of your fridge,” Gina Salvatori, a registered dietitian with CHC Solutions. “That way, you still have contact information, in the event power is out for an extended period and you cannot charge a cell phone or computer.” 

For more information, go to https://www.feedingtubeawareness.org/troubleshooting/emergencies/power-outages/

*Disclaimer: Any health and wellness content presented is for general informational purposes only. Such content is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.