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Parents Helping Parents: Differences in G-Tubes and Dressing Supplies

On the PHS Facebook page last month, we asked caregivers, “what would you tell families about differences you found most significant related to equipment, supplies and care?” Some of the best insights we noticed were related to changing the brand of a supply if a child is having an issue with their current one, so we took the topic to two of our PHS clinicians who know supplies and best practices well – a clinical dietitian and an infusion nurse.

Each provided unique insights into general considerations when dealing with supplies that are more likely to have great differences depending on brand and patient, and offer considerations to remember when caregivers have a concern with their child’s supply. Do you have any best practices to add to the list? Share them in the comments!

What significant differences have you found related to equipment, supplies, and care?

Insights from Parents on the PHS Facebook Page

  • Just a brand name for G-tubes made a world of difference for site reaction alone. Lots of people don’t see a difference between ‘interchangeable’ brands but each has a huge difference and preference.
  • I agree 100% that it does make a major difference between manufacturers. My son’s G-tube with Brand A would barely last 60 days, but when I talked with my doctor and got her to order Brand B, it lasted just over 6 months.

Insights from Lana Hogan, Clinical Dietitian at PHS

  • If patients are having any issues with their G-tube button including rashes and irritation around the site, it is improve that caregivers always contact the patient’s doctor. However, aspects that dietitians consider when troubleshooting issues with G-tube buttons include the following:
    • Frequency of G-tube button replacement – recommend following manufacturer’s guidelines
    • Confirm G-tube button’s balloon fill volume is as ordered
    • Consider if the size of the G-tube button is appropriate
    • Consider switching to a different G-tube button brand

Insights from Karletta Crawford, Infusion Nurse Supervisor at PHS

  • If a patient is having skin reactions with a certain type of dressing, I try to have them get a sample from the manufacturer they’re interested in trying first to make sure it works for their child – what works for one child might not work for another, so even if a parent has heard great reviews on a certain dressing, their child might not have as great of an experience with it.
  • There are probably 6-8 different classes of dressings, and each manufacturer’s dressing can have various additives that one child may be sensitive to while another child is not. More than anything, it is all specific to a certain person’s skin and situation. If a family does not feel comfortable talking to their doctor, PHS clinicians to advocate and talk to doctors about a possible change in manufacturer.
Originally published: September 24, 2014