Feeding Tube Replacement with Foley Catheter 

Your feeding tube has been replaced with a Foley catheter. This is a short-term (temporary) change until a standard feeding tube can be put in. You will be given follow-up advice explaining how and when to get a new feeding tube put in. 

Home care

The following will help you care for yourself at home:

  • Unless told otherwise, continue feedings as usual. 

    • Before preparing the formula or touching the feeding tube, wash your hands with soap and water.

    • The tube is narrow, so use only commercial feeding formulas. This will help keep the tube from getting clogged. These formulas are meant to give you all the protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals you need. Follow the advice of your healthcare provider, registered dietitian, or nurse about how many feedings you need each day.

    • Flush the tube with clear water before and after feedings. Also flush the tube after medicine has been given through the tube. 

    • When feeding, sit upright or recline at not less than 30°. This will reduce the risk of the feeding solution draining upward toward the throat. This could cause you to breathe (aspirate) the solution into the lungs. Stay in this position for at least 30 minutes after the feeding.

    • Infuse food slowly. It may take more than 1 hour for one feeding session.

  • If the tube becomes blocked, flush with a syringe full of water. 

  • If you feel bloated after feeding, remove the cap from the end of the tube so that extra air in the stomach can flow out. Then, cough. This will help remove the extra air.

  • You will need to take care of your mouth and teeth and see a dentist even if you are not taking any food or liquids by mouth. Brush your teeth and gums daily. Keep your lips moist with a lip balm or petroleum jelly.

  • Don't deflate the balloon unless told to by a healthcare provider.

  • Check that a piece of the Foley that been put over the new tube (external bolster ) is not pressed tightly against your skin.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised, to have the Foley catheter replaced with a standard feeding tube.

Call 911

Call 911 if you have:

  • Chest pain

  • Trouble breathing

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of the following happen:

  • Foley catheter falls out

  • Foley catheter becomes blocked and you are not able to clear it

  • Redness, pus, or bleeding at the insertion site

  • Leakage of stomach contents around the tube onto the stomach

  • Stomach pain or swelling that gets worse

  • Fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Vomiting your tube feedings

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