The benefits of blended diet via gastrostomy as an alternative to commercial formula

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Patient and carer experience of blended diet via gastrostomy: a qualitative study

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Background

Home enteral feeding is becoming increasingly prevalent within the UK. The use of commercial prescription formula is considered best practice; however, increasingly, patients are choosing to use blended diet via gastrostomy. There is anecdotal evidence suggesting both physical and social benefits, although there are concerns regarding the safety and efficacy of this method of feeding. The present study explores the experiences of patients who are currently using or have used this method of feeding in the past.

Methods

Patients currently using or having previously used blended diet via gastrostomy were identified. Patients and their carers, where applicable, were invited to participate in a semi‐structured interview. The data were transcribed and themes were identified.

Results

Thematic analysis of the data collected showed that patients had an overall positive experience of blended diet with few or no identified disadvantages. Participants reported improvements in gastrointestinal symptoms, as well as general wellbeing, in addition to the social benefits of their family member being included in family mealtimes. Reference was made to the lack of support for this method of feeding and the desire for blended diet to be offered as an alternative to commercial enteral feed.

Conclusions

This research highlights the benefits of blended diet via gastrostomy as an alternative to commercial formula. More research is needed to develop evidence‐based guidelines for patients and the healthcare professionals supporting them.

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