William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital
There are times when people may not be able to eat and drink enough to consume enough nutrition. When this happens, nutrition must be supplied in a different way. One method is "enteral nutrition" or "tube feeding". When this is needed, a temporary or permanent tube may be placed through the nose or in your abdomen. A special liquid food mixture is prescribed to flow through this tube and give you the protein, energy, vitamins and minerals you need.
If you are unable to eat at all or are not absorbing your food well, you may need "parenteral nutrition". In this case a special IV is placed into your are, neck, or chest. A liquid designed for you will flow through this IV and provide your protein, energy, vitamin, mineral, and electrolyte needs.
With both enteral nutrition and parenteral nutrition, you dietitian works with the physician to make sure that you are receiving adequate mutrients, electrolytes and fluid. The dietitian will also work with you when you are ready to transitio nback to a normal diet. If you request these treatments at home, you will continue to be followed by a dietitian to make sure they are working well for you.