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09.06 Enteral & Parenteral Nutrition (Diet, TPN)

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* In the video is states a bolus is 15-30 min. It is correct in the outline. A bolus is given over 10-15 min.

  1. Enteral & Parenteral Nutrition
    1. Indications/Contraindications
    2. Access
    3. Formula Types & Solutions
    4. Administration
    5. Initiation
    6. Monitoring
    7. Complications

Nursing Points


  1. Enteral Nutrition
    1. Indications
      1. Cannot consume food via oral route
      2. Patient has a functional GI tract
    2. Contraindications
      1. Hemodynamically unstable
      2. Risk of aspiration
      3. Signs of GI distress
        1. Distended abdomen
        2. Increased nasogastric tube drainage >500 mL/day
        3. High pitched bowel sounds
    3. Enteral feeding access
      1. Nasal or Oral routes
      2. Short term feeding tubes
        1. Nasogastric
        2. Nasoduodenal
        3. Nasojejunal
        4. Orogastric
      3. Gastric Access (surgical interventions)
        1. Gastrotomy
        2. Gastrojejunostomy
          1. Accesses both stomach and jejunum
      4. Jejunal Access (Jejunum)
        1. Jejunostomy
        2. Surgical access
    4. Formula Types
      1. Based on Calories (kcal) per mL
        1. 1-1.2 kCal/mL
      2. High fiber
        1. Regulates the bowels
        2. Used in malabsorption patients
      3. Disease specific
        1. Renal
        2. Diabetes
        3. Respiratory
    5. Administration Types
      1. Bolus
        1. Delivering large quantities in short duration (given over 10-15 minutes)
        2. Good for ambulatory patients
      2. Intermittent feedings
        1. Similar to bolus
        2. Run over longer periods of time (up to one hour)
      3. Cyclic
        1. Run for large portion of the day
          1. Over 10-18 hours
          2. Continuous through that time period
        2. Good for some patients who take food my mouth
      4. Continuous feeds
        1. Used for patients on intestinal feeds or those that can’t tolerate bolus feedings
        2. Continuous rate delivered over 24 hour period
    6. Initiation of Enteral Feedings
      1. Confirm tube placement
        1. Per policy
      2. Elevate head of bed
        1. At least 30 degrees
      3. Begin feedings at 10-40 ml/hr or per order
      4. Advance feedings per policy or 10-10 ml/hr every 8-12 hours
        1. Until reached goal rate
        2. Unless contraindicated
      5. Monitor for tolerance
      6. Wean tube feedings
        1. Hold feedings 1 hour prior to meal
        2. Initiate 6 small meals per day as ordered or per policy
    7. Monitoring
      1. I&O (ins and outs)
        1. Monitor total volumes in versus volume out
          1. Important in renal patients
      2. Gastric residuals
        1. Gastric residual = the amount of tube feedings remaining in stomach during assessment
        2. Gastric residuals should never exceed 500 mL
      3. Weigh patients daily
      4. Monitor lab values
      5. Oral Care
        1. Patients can be forgetful or oral care
        2. Can lead to bad hygiene and complications
      6. Bowel Health
        1. Assess abdomen regularly or per policy
      7. Tube site
        1. Assess skin at site for skin breakdown and tube functionality
      8. Medication administration
        1. Stop tube feeding prior to administration
        2. Flush tube per policy
        3. Administer medications per policy
        4. Flush tube after administration
        5. Resume feeding
    8. Complications
      1. GI intolerance
        1. Some patients cannot tolerate tube feedings
        2. Monitor case-by-case basis
      2. Tube placement site
        1. Monitor for skin breakdown
      3. Tube clogging
        1. Refer to policy for unclogging tube
        2. Use medically approved unclogging agent
        3. Flush tube frequently
        4. DO NOT USE SODA
      4. Bacterial contaminations
        1. Wash hands
        2. Follow policy
      5. Metabolic complications
        1. Elevated blood sugars and electrolyte imbalances can occur
        2. Monitor patient lab values
  2. Parenteral Feeding
    1. Indications
      1. Inability to take food orally
        1. GI Disorders
          1. Obstruction
          2. Extended bowel rest
          3. GI Fistula
          4. Short bowel syndrome
      2. Inadequate food intake
    2. Contraindications
      1. Functional GI tract
        1. GI nutrition should always be first choice
      2. Inability to gain venous access
        1. Ideally should be placed centrally (PICC line, Central Line)
        2. Check policy
      3. Hemodynamically unstable
      4. Short-term nutritional supplemental use
    3. Access
      1. Peripheral Access
        1. Short term
        2. Nutrition must be isotonic
      2. Central Access
        1. Longer term
        2. Nutrition can be hypertonic
      3. Considerations
        1. When submitting labs drawn from a central line, you must waste at least 10 mLs of blood before submitting a sample
        2. TPN/PPN can alter lab results
    4. Solutions
      1. Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN)
        1. Hypertonic solution
        2. Dextrose >10%
      2. Peripheral Parenteral Nutrition (PPN)
        1. Isotonic
        2. Dextrose < or = 10%
        3. Consider total volume the patient can have
      3. TPN & PPN
        1. Can both contain
          1. Lipids
          2. Amino Acids
          3. Heparin
          4. Insulin
          5. Electrolytes
          6. Multivitamins
          7. Other trace elements
      4. Always verify order!
    5. Administration
      1. Continuous
        1. Lower rate
        2. Over 24 hour
      2. Cyclic
        1. Higher rate
        2. Better for ambulation
      3. Consideration
        1. If discontinuing parenteral nutrition, notify dietician because of pausing of caloric intake
    6. Monitoring
      1. I&O
        1. Monitor for total intake and output
      2. Daily Weight
        1. Monitor for changes
      3. Vital Signs
        1. Monitor for vital signs (increased potassium can cause EKG changes, etc).
      4. Lab Values
        1. Monitor for electrolyte depletions and increases in glucose
      5. Sterile Techniques
        1. Because the line is going centrally in most cases, all lines must be treated as sterile lines
      6. Flow Rate
        1. If you run out of TPN/PPN, you must have D5 available because stopping the TPN/PPN abruptly is contraindicated
      7. Precipitation
        1. Follow policy and monitor for precipitation when administering drugs through another lumen of a central or peripheral line
        2. Not all drugs are compatible with TPN/PPN
          1. As a precaution, generally try to use other access for administering drugs
    7. Complications
      1. Infection
        1. All PPN/TPN is administered through a venous access
          1. Consider the sterility of the line when changing dressings and administering any TPN/PPN
      2. Mechanical Complications
        1. Obstruction
        2. Air embolism
      3. Metabolic Complications
        1. Patient is at risk for
          1. Electrolyte imbalance
          2. Fluid imbalances
          3. Hyperlipidemia
          4. Nutrition deficiency
          5. Liver disease or complication

Nursing Concepts

  1. Nutrition
  2. Patient Education
  3. Fluid & Electrolyte Balance

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Video Transcript

Hi, guys. My name is Sandi, and today we are going to talk about nutrition support. When a patient is unable to get adequate nutrition, we can provide nutrition support in the form of enteral or parenteral nutrition to meet their needs.
Enteral nutrition is nutrition support via the GI tract. It is also commonly called tube feeding since the food is administered via a tube. It can supplement intake or provide sole nutrition. The basic makeup is very similar to regular food, just in a liquid form.

So why would we use enteral nutrition? What are some examples? Indications include an inability to take in adequate nutrition along with a GI tract that is functioning normally. For example, a person with dysphagia who can’t swallow but other than that everything is working well. However, there are some contraindications. In critically ill patients, it’s important that a patient is stable prior to starting tube feeds. For example, waiting until after a patient is volume resuscitated and hemodynamically stable.

We want to make sure there is adequate blood flow to the gut. Look for vital signs returning to normal, IV fluid administration stabilizing, a mean arterial pressure over 70 milliliters per mercury, and discontinuation of pressers. Another contraindication is aspiration risk. Signs that might aggravate aspiration risk include a history of aspiration, decreased level of consciousness, vomiting, intubation, and high gastric residuals.

Lastly, we have signs of GI distress. The following signs may warrant delay in the initiation of tube feed: a distended abdomen and G-tube drainage that’s over 500 to 1000 milliliters per day or high-pitched bowel sounds.

Now let’s discuss our access route. There are a number of different placement options for feeding tubes. First, we need to consider the insertion site. Second, the placement or end of the tip of the feeding tube. An orogastric tube is placed in the mouth and through to the stomach. So the first part, oro, refers to the entry point, and the second part is where the tip of that feeding tube ends up, gastric, stomach.

Gastrostomy tubes are inserted through the abdominal wall into the stomach. They can be placed either surgically or endoscopically. A common G-tube called a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, or PEG, tube is an example of an endoscopic placement. PEG tubes can also have a jejunal extension called a PEG-J, which can section or decompress the stomach and then feed into the intestines. Placement is determined by GI function, medical history, aspiration risk, duration of feeding.

So for aspiration risk and stomach issues, you can feed past the stomach and into the intestines. So right down there. For duration, naso and oro feeding tubes are used for shorter-term feedings, and G-tubes for longer-term feedings.

I want to add one more thing on tube size. Tube size is dependent on the patient and the purpose. If we want to put meds through it, we need a larger tube. Can’t put meds through a small bore.

Once the tube is placed, a formula type needs to be chosen. It’s very important to work with the rest of your interdisciplinary team. Typically, the doctor or dietician will place an order for a specific formula type as well as the goal rate for the formula.

So let’s discuss the differences of the formulas. Enteral nutrition formula concentration is designated by kcals per milliliter. So I’ll just write that on here. Standard formulas are typically 1.0 or 1.2, which means there is, for example, 1.0 kcals or kilocalories for every milliliter. So 240 milliliters has 240 calories. More concentrated formulas can go up to 1.5 or 2.0.

Higher-fiber formulas can help regulate the bowels. Elemental formulas contain nutrients that are partially broken down, peptides instead of full proteins, and they’re typically used with patients that have GI issues like malabsorption or pancreatitis. Immune-enhancing formulas contain arginine and omega-3 fatty acids and are used for trauma, surgical or critically-ill patients.

Lastly, we have disease-specific formulas. Most common are renal, diabetes, and respiratory. Renal is more concentrated, low protein, potassium, phosphorous. Diabetes is lower in carbohydrates, and respiratory are higher in fat with the intent of minimizing metabolism byproducts that need to be exhaled by the lungs.

Now, we consider how to administer. Bolus feeds mimic how we eat. Feeds are around 200 to 400 milliliters four to six times per day, delivery between 15 and 30 minutes. It’s a great method for patients that are ambulatory because it gives them more freedom. They’re not tied to a pump.

Intermittent feeds are similar to bolus; however, instead of running for 15 to 30 minutes, they may run over an hour.

Cyclic feeds are typically run between 10 to 18 hours, and they can go up to 150 milliliters per hour in their rate. They’re helpful in a home setting for people that want a bit more freedom during the day but maybe can’t tolerate the larger bolus feeds. They’re also helpful for patients that are trying to take in some foods by mouth to help transition because a continuous feed can possibly affect the appetite.

Continuous feeds are set at a specific rate and delivered over a 24-hour period. They are appropriate for patients that can’t handle a larger volume, and they are also used for feeds into the intestines. You can’t do bolus feeds into the intestines.

Now let’s discuss how to initiate and wean tube feedings. First three initial checks. The placement of the tube must be verified by radiology. Elevate the head of bed to 30 degrees. I’m going to write that. Really important to elevate the head of bed. Verify GI health. Make sure there’s bowel sounds. For continuous or cyclic, you want to start tube feeds at a lower rate and then advance to goal. So an example would be starting maybe at 20 milliliters per hour and then advancing by 20 milliliters every eight hours until reaching maybe a goal rate of 60.

Then once you monitor for tolerance, which we’ll discuss in more detail on the next slide. Then lastly, let’s discuss weaning the tube feeds. There’s a couple of considerations. You want to hold tube feeds for an hour before a meal. Slowly increase to six small meals a day, and when the tube feed is meeting about a half a need, you want to change to maybe a cyclic or a night feed, and then DC once the tube feed is meeting about two-thirds of needs for a few days.

Now let’s discuss the monitoring. So I’s & O’s, this is particularly important for renal patients. It’s more important also if the tube feed patient is not taking any food or water by mouth. Also we want to check gastric residuals. They’re typically checked every four to six hours. The concern is that residuals that are too high can lead to reflux and aspiration. We now know that residuals up to 500 milliliters are tolerated. However, follow your facility procedure as there is some variance in actual practice.

Focus should be on looking at the whole picture. It’s not just about volume. It’s about evidence of tolerance. A GRV or gastric residual volume of 300 with obvious signs of nausea, distension, reflux is worse than a higher one of, say, 450 where there’s no evidence of any issues.

Daily weight should be taken to assess effectiveness of nutrition in meeting needs over time. Also, to monitor fluid balance. Lab values, you want to check electrolytes, BUN and creatinine and glucose. Oral care is very important for patients that are NPO, especially if they’re not taking anything by mouth.

Bowel health. So here you want to listen for bowel sounds, check for abdominal distension and then, of course, nausea, vomiting, constipation and diarrhea. The tube site needs to be monitored for possible infection.

Then medication administration. The proper procedure here is first stop the feeds. Next, flush the tube with 15 to 30 milliliters of water before, between and after medications and, when possible, use liquid medications.

Complications. GI intolerance, abdominal distension, cramping, pain, nausea/vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, dumping syndrome are all signs of GI intolerance.

Interventions. You can change the formula type, add additional water to help with constipation, administer feeds at room temperature, decrease rate of infusion.

Tube placement or site. Tubes can be placed too far or not far enough. So they can also be mistakenly placed into the lungs instead of the GI tract. Aspiration is a concern. The tube site can get irritated. For example, like the nose or infections around the G-tube site.

Tube clotting or obstruction. Intervention would be water flushes; can’t be stressed enough. Before, between, after meds, every four hours for continuous feeds, before and after bolus feeds, after checking residuals. However, if a clog does occur, use 50 milliliters with a piston syringe. Some hospitals have a commercial declogging agent that can be used. Using soda is not recommended.

Bacterial contamination can lead to food poisoning. Interventions. Wash hands, proper labeling of formula, proper refrigeration, replace formula every 24 hours.

Lastly, metabolic complications like elevated blood sugars, hydration status, or electrolyte imbalance.

Now we will discuss parenteral nutrition, which is nutrition inserted directly into the vein. Since the nutrients in parenteral nutrition don’t go through the GI screening process of digestion and absorption, the consistency of parenteral nutrition is very different. Instead of complex carbohydrates and proteins, it has dextrose and amino acids.

Now let’s discuss the indications and contraindications. Parenteral nutrition should be considered a last resort. If there is another way to get nutrition, go that route. The most common reasons for needing parenteral nutrition are tied to issues with the GI tract not functioning. So here are some examples here. Obstruction, fistula, short bowel syndrome, et cetera.

Contraindications then, of course, include a functional GI tract. If the GI is working, use it. The inability to get venous access. Hemodynamically unstable. The focus here is if glucose or fluids, you want those to stabilize first. Then lastly, if it’s going to be used for seven days or less, it’s not considered worth the risk.

There are two types of access, peripheral and central. When providing nutrition for peripheral access, the formula must be isotonic, which limits how much nutrition you can give a patient. Peripheral is a short-term option. Central is a longer-term option, and hypertonic solution can be used for feeding.

I want to add a note in here to be careful when drawing blood on a TPN patient. Proper procedure if drawing from the same line is to stop the TPN, flush the line with 10 to 20 milliliters of normal saline. Then waste 5 to 10 milliliters of blood before drawing one for sample. It may even be required to change the end of cap before drawing blood. Even if using a different lumen, for example, a double lumen PICC, the TPN should still be stopped. Best practice is to stop the TPN but still use a different line or vein for obtaining a sample, preferably from a different arm. If you don’t follow this procedure, you will end up with a falsely-elevated glucose and electrolytes, and it’s not pretty.

Total parenteral nutrition is typically a hypertonic solution. Due to this, it can only be administered into a central vein. It’s more concentrated because of the dextrose or sugar content. Peripheral parenteral nutrition is isotonic and is lower in dextrose. Both TPN and parenteral nutrition can have lipids, amino acids, heparin and insulin added and electrolytes, multivitamins and trace elements.

One concern with peripheral parenteral nutrition. Since it must be isotonic, patients with fluid restrictions may not be able to get adequate nutrition from the lower rate required to not volume overload the patient. Lastly, very important note to verify the bag that it matches the order.

Parenteral nutrition can be either cyclic or continuous. Continuous runs over a 24-hour period. It can be delivered at a lower rate. Cyclic is better for ambulatory patients and can be run overnight. However, for patients receiving insulin in the bag, wean patient on and off TPN by giving TPN at half-strength for an hour before and after.

One note is that if you stop parenteral nutrition for any significant amount of time for any reason, notify the dietician because they may need to recalculate the next day’s calorie needs.

Now let’s discuss the monitoring. First, your I’s & O’s. Monitor hydration in particular. Daily weights, this will monitor for adequacy of intake and fluid status. Monitoring your vital signs and check your lab values, specifically for electrolyte deficiencies, pH imbalances. Check your glycerides to make sure it’s okay to give lipids. Check your liver function tests. If not good, try cyclic TPN. Check glucose because you can adjust the dextrose or add insulin to the bag. Check your prealbumin. Check BUN and creatinine to make sure the kidneys are good, which can impact decisions on the amount of protein, fluid, potassium, and phosphorous.

Now we’ll move down here to sterile techniques. When changing tube dressings, change the bag and tubing every 24 hours. On to flow rate, make sure that your rate is not too high or too low. Very important. If TPN needs to be stopped, especially for diabetics, make sure to have D5 available to administer when the TPN is off so the patient doesn’t become hypoglycemic.

Lastly, precipitation. If calcium and phos precipitate out of the solution, don’t use the bag. One last thing I want to mention here is that patients sedated on a medication called Propofol, they are receiving fat calories from that medication. So patients on nutrition support, those calories will need to be taken into account. So if there’s any big changes in the rate or it’s just newly started or stopped, let the dietician know.

Parenteral nutrition is administered via the vein, so infection and sepsis are a risk. Mechanical complications include obstruction, air embolism, thrombosis and pneumothorax. Metabolic complications include electrolyte imbalance, high or low volume, blood sugars, high triglycerides, and essential fatty acid deficiencies. Lipids are contraindicated for patients with severe hepatic disease, hyperlipidemia, hypertriglyceridemia.

Abnormal LFTs, make sure the patient isn’t being overfed or try switching to cyclic TPN. Refeeding syndrome. If a patient is malnourished, a syndrome called refeeding can occur. When the body has been depleted of essential nutrition, insulin production slows. When carbohydrates are reintroduced, insulin is produced. Insulin moves glucose, phos, magnesium, potassium into the cells, which can lower the serum levels of those.
So that is our nutrition support lesson, and I want to leave you with a few final thoughts. We have a common saying in the hospital. That is, if the gut works, use it. That is always the best option if it is an option. There are a lot of things that can be adjusted if a patient is not tolerating feedings. Pass along any information that you have to the rest of the healthcare team.
Now go out there and be your best self today, and as always, happy nursing.

Read more

  • Question 1 of 10

A nurse suspects that a client has developed an infection because of a contaminated bag of TPN which is currently infusing. Which of the following interventions is most appropriate in this situation? Select all that apply.

  • Question 2 of 10

A nurse is caring for a patient with advanced HIV infection who requires tube feedings with a specialty formula. Which describes the difference between a specialty formula and a polymeric formula?

  • Question 3 of 10

A nurse is caring for a client who is using TPN while in the hospital. Which of the following elements would be checked on a daily basis while the client receives TPN? Select all that apply.

  • Question 4 of 10

A nurse is teaching a client who will be going home with TPN. Which information would the nurse need to include when teaching this client about home TPN use? Select all that apply.

  • Question 5 of 10

A patient who uses TPN has developed liver dysfunction as a result. Which of the following elements are true regarding liver dysfunction and TPN use? Select all that apply.

  • Question 6 of 10

A nurse is preparing to administer the next enteral feeding to a client with a gastrostomy tube. The client complains of nausea. The nurse checks for residual before starting the feeding and returns 200 mL. Which of the following actions of the nurse is most appropriate?

  • Question 7 of 10

The nurse is caring for a client with a feeding tube. Which of the following is the most appropriate position for this client during a feeding? Select all that apply.

  • Question 8 of 10

A client has an option to receive peripheral parenteral nutrition (PPN) to support nutritional status. Which of the following is a true statement regarding peripheral parenteral nutrition? Select all that apply.

  • Question 9 of 10

A nurse is working with a client who must start TPN therapy because of weight loss and difficulties eating. Which of the following are aims of TPN therapy? Select all that apply.

  • Question 10 of 10

A client in the hospital has developed re-feeding syndrome. Which of the following client diagnoses includes the highest risk of developing re-feeding syndrome when using TPN? Select all that apply.

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