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Keywords:

  • decision-making;
  • home enteral tube feeding;
  • nursing;
  • perceptions;
  • percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy feeding;
  • quality of life

Abstract

Title. Home percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy feeding: perceptions of patients, carers, nurses and dietitians

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study to compare the perceptions of adult patients, family carers, nurses and dietitians regarding home percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy feeding.

Background.  Healthcare professionals have a major role in patient selection for gastrostomy placement and the provision of aftercare but it is not clear if patients, their carers and healthcare professionals have similar perceptions of the initiation and delivery of feeding and of the care in general.

Method.  A cross-sectional mixed-method study using purposive sampling, semi-structured interviews and questionnaires was performed. Interviews were undertaken during 2005 with adult patients and carers of adults receiving home feeding. A questionnaire containing comparable questions was distributed to the lead district nurse and dietitian providing the individual patient's care. Binomial regression was used to analyse any differences in perceptions across the groups of respondents.

Results.  Nurses and dietitians had similar perceptions of gastrostomy feeding in adults. Family carers’ perceptions matched those of professionals more closely than did those of patients. The greatest difference in perceptions was between patients and their family carers. Respondents’ views about success of feeding and the appropriateness of the feeding regimen were similar, but greater differences existed regarding quality of life, withdrawal of feeding and choice in decision-making about tube placement.

Conclusion.  There is a need for increased patient and carer involvement in decision-making and for sufficient, appropriate information to facilitate informed decision-making. Practitioners who involve carers in decision-making, where patients lack capacity, need to be aware that carers may not represent the views of patients.