G-Tube Changes: Tips to Help Your Child’s Anxiety
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G-Tube changes can be so hard for my daughter who has 3 mini-one buttons (or tubes). She has a lot of anxiety around anything medical, whether it’s a simple procedure, getting a vaccine, or changing her G-Tube. Because of her anxiety, we have had to come up with many anxiety-reducing solutions to help her get through any medical procedure.
So why does my daughter have 3 tubes? It’s a long story as to why, but the first one is the G-Tube which allows food and drink to go to her stomach. The second tube is called a J-Tube. This tube bypasses the stomach and allows food and drink to go straight to her intestines. The third tube is called a Cecostomy Tube or C-Tube. This tube allows us to flush her bowels with an enema solution so she can go to the bathroom.
Each of these tubes needs to be changed every 3 months to a brand new one. It’s an easy procedure that we can do at home, however, my daughter still hates doing it. Thankfully, with a little help from therapists, and her home health nurses, we have several tips that help ease her anxiety.
3 Simple Tips for Anxiety over G-Tube Changes:
1. Have Your Child Take Deep Breaths. Remind your child to take deep breaths. Parents should take deep breaths too to encourage them. Use one of the breathing techniques below to make it fun! Have your child hug a favorite stuffed animal, pet, or friend for comfort.
2. Give Your Child Choices. Where do they want to sit or lay for the tube change? Which tube do they want to be changed first? What movie do they want to watch at this time? Do they want to help you change the tube?
My daughter likes choices because it gives her more control over what is happening. She also likes to help change her tubes because she knows how much pressure to use and what hurts and what doesn’t.
3. Give Your Child Praise. For each tiny step, give your child lots of praise. For example, “Good job sitting so still!” “Thank you for helping me wiggle the tube out!” “You’re so brave!” Etc.
What about YOU? Does your child have anxiety when getting their G-Tube Changed? What are your tips for changing out a feeding tube?