Objective: Healthcare providers (HCPs) report increased interest in blenderized tube feeding (BTF) as an alternative to commercial formula (CF) feeding - particularly in families of tube fed children. The objective of this study was to explore parents' reported experiences of CF and BTF in their children. Design: Prospective descriptive study utilizing a convenience sample. Setting/Subjects: Parents (n = 433) of tube fed children in an online tube feeding support group completed an electronic survey to compare experiences of CF and BTF in their tube fed children. Results: The sample was evenly represented by parents using CF (50.5%) and BTF (49.5%). Reasons parents chose BTF included desire to provide whole foods (20.2%), decrease symptoms of tube feeding intolerance (19.7%), provide family meals (12.2%), increase oral intake (10.8%), address allergies (5.3%), or because they did not like formula (19.7%). Parents reported fewer symptoms of tube feeding intolerance on BTF and their children more frequently met growth goals compared to formula feeding. Only half (49.3%) of parents using BTF referred to HCPs for recipes and feeding oversight. The primary reasons parents did not use BTF included lack of knowledge (50.9%) or time constraints (20.0%). Conclusions: A significant number of parents in this sample successfully provide full or partial BTF to their children but only half rely on HCPs for guidance. There is wide variability in BTF preparation and delivery. Parents who use or have interest in BTF need knowledgeable and supportive HCPs for guidance and follow-up due to the unique nutritional needs of this patient population. HCPs need to be prepared to screen families of tube fed children who are using BTF or are interested in this feeding alternative to CF. Healthcare facilities need to evaluate their enteral feeding policies to accommodate patients on BTF.
- integrative medicine
- physical disabilities
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine