Gastrostomy Tube (G-Tube) Home Care

Your child has had a tube placed in his / her stomach called a gastrostomy tube or G-tube. This tube provides another way to offer food and / or medicines. It also can be used to vent your child's stomach for air or drainage.

When the tube is first placed in your child's stomach it may or may not be secured with a stitch through the skin and around the tube. This helps the tube stay in place until the gastrostomy tract is well healed. If your child has a stitch around the tube, healing takes place in about 21 days. A tract will form between the stomach and skin in about three months. Your doctor may talk to you about changing the tube at this time.

It is important to know what type and size tube your child has. 

  • Brand of G-tube
  • Size of  tube (Fr)
  • Length of tube (Cm)
  • Clean work area
  • Soap and water
  • Clean gauze pads
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Syringe for flushing
  • Water for flushing
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Remove old dressing. Look at the area where the tube enters the skin. Check for redness, swelling, any drainage or excess skin growing around the tube. A small amount of clear tan drainage can be normal.
  • Wash skin around the tube with soap and warm water. Clean around G-tube to remove any drainage and / or crusting. Clean around suture gently. Dry skin thoroughly. Keep this site clean and dry.
  • Use dressing around G-tube site as instructed by your nurse or doctor.
  • Secure the end of the tube by putting a piece of tape around the tube and pinning it to a folded piece of tape on the stomach, diaper or T-shirt. One-piece T-shirt or Onesies protect the tube.
  • Do not use ointments around tube site unless directed by your child's doctor or nurse.

Flush your child’s G-tube with water:

  • Before and after any tube feeding
  • Before and after any medications
  • At least every eight hours

Your doctor or nurse will tell you the amount of water to use to flush the G-tube.

  • Give liquid medications directly into the tube.
  • For pills, first check with your doctor or pharmacist before crushing any medications. Crush the medicines into a powder and mix with enough water to make a liquid.
  • For capsules, first check with your doctor or pharmacist before opening the capsule. Open and dissolve powder with enough water to make a liquid.
  • Always give one medication at a time and give water in between each medication.
  • Your child's tube may need to be used to remove extra air or fluid in your child's stomach. Your doctor or nurse will tell you if this is needed.
  • There are several devices you can use to vent the G-tube.
  • Follow instructions from your nurse or doctor on how to do this.
  • Do not allow your child to pull on the tube. A one-piece, snap T-shirt works best for infants and toddlers. Keep the tube secured beneath the child's clothing.

Problem Cause Solution

G-tube was pulled out

Numerous

Cover with small clean dressing and tape. Then call doctor or nurse. The G-tube needs to be put in as soon as possible within 1-4 hours so the tract will not close. Bring your old tube to either the doctor's office or emergency room.

Redness and irritation around the stomach, soreness and foul odorMay be caused by leakage or infectionKeep dressing clean and dry. Continue routine care and contact your child's doctor. A skin barrier cream may be ordered at this time.

Leakage at site

Problem with how G-tube is held in place

Call your child's doctor or nurse.

Skin or excess tissue appears to be growing where tube enters skinSome children are more prone to this than othersCall your child's doctor or nurse to discuss treatment.

G-tube is clogged

Thick formulas or medication

Try to slowly push warm water into the tube with a 10 ml syringe. Repeat steps every 10-15 minutes. Never put any object into the tube to unclog it. If you are unable to unclog the tube, call your child's doctor or nurse.


Last Updated 06/2012

G-Tube Care Videos

Cleaning the G-Tube Area

G-Tube Area Skin Care