Insertion and care of nasogastric tubes in adults with intellectual disabilities
Intended for healthcare professionals

Insertion and care of nasogastric tubes in adults with intellectual disabilities

Lynne Marsh Senior lecturer, School of nursing and midwifery, Queen’s University Belfast

Many adults with intellectual disabilities require nutritional support as feeding problems are prevalent in this population. While many types of nutritional support are available, enteral feeding tubes, such as nasogastric (NG) tubes, are considered safe and effective. NG tube feeding is a common clinical procedure carried out to maintain patients’ nutritional needs when they have swallowing difficulties or cannot tolerate oral feeding. Insertion of an NG tube provides adequate nutrition and improves positive health outcomes and quality of life, but being fed through an NG tube may alter patients’ perceptions of feeding and mealtimes.

Healthcare professionals, including intellectual disability nurses, should not underestimate the social aspect of mealtimes or the physical and psychological effects of NG tube feeding in patients with intellectual disabilities. Demonstrating competence and compassion with regard to insertion and care of an NG tube and applying best practice to ensure patient safety and well-being are critical to supporting patients with intellectual disabilities.

Learning Disability Practice. 22, 2, 34-41. doi: 10.7748/ldp.2019.e1934


Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict of interest

None declared


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