Below is the portion related to Alzheimer’s/dementia, Dysphagia and Tube Feeding which I have covered in my YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/yinteing1). I have listed the main videos in an order that I hope would be helpful.
I started this series after my mom who have Alzheimer’s suddenly was unable to swallow. Fortunately we are in Thailand where the compassionate healthcare system emphasizes on caring for elderly and have all the systems in place for caregivers to make the task easier.
I will start off with the 6 months update of the benefits of placing my mother on nasogastric tube feeding. Her health, energy, mood have improved as she is now getting better nutrition compared to the time when she was taking food by mouth (she was a very picky eater):
Why I placed my mom on nasogastric ryles tube feeding and how it saved her life:
Below is a video which show how her blood pressure could not be read by the bp monitor but the machine had no issue reading my bp. Which leads to the placement of feeding tube above as recommended by doctors. She was still able to speak and eat during that time but her vitals were very bad. I took her to the hospital thinking to revise her bp meds but instead her cardiologist told me from her vitals and blood work, she is in critical condition and was warded in ICU:
Caregiver considerations (cost, time, willingness, etc):
For Alzheimer’s patients, to prevent them from pulling out the tube, we need to cover their hands with specialized hand mittens. I have the ones from Maysa Medical (company in Thailand) which my mom has been using long term without any distress. Now I only put on the hand mittens but I do not restraint, ie tie her hands to the bed post:
There are also the DIY ones which there are videos in Thai that teaches how to do it. However, it can be uncomfortable due to the plastic NSS bottle that are being used. We bought 2 pairs from the hospital but am using the ones above:
Tube feeding food
In Thailand, a lot of tube feeding food are cooked in the homes itself using fresh ingredients like pumpkin, eggs, chicken/meat/liver, green vegetables, banana (only specific species, the Nam Wa is being used as it causes less phlegm), carrot, papaya, etc. As milk formula is too expensive and many households cannot afford that. We got our food prepared using the ingredients and methods similar to below. My mother’s health has improved after consuming the food:
As there were not a lot of resources available, we have to learn as we go along. In the beginning, my mom had very bad wheezing and difficulty breathing. We took her to the hospital ER where they did phlegm suction and doctor prescribed Fluimucil:
Do note that Fluimucil or Mucinex (depending on which medication your doctor think is normal) is effective for tube feeding even though it does not pass through the throat as it is administered via tube feeding:
However, please note that Fluimucil and Mucinex can help dilute the phlegm/mucus. But it CANNOT get rid of the mucus/phlegm:
We MUST perform suction on the diluted mucus or phlegm. Below is a detailed guide video based on my experience on performing phlegm suction:
After learning to do phlegm suction, her health and energy improve as the phlegm no longer blocks her passageway.
In the video below, I share on how I do bed bath for my mother. Her hands have the mittens on all the time hence we no longer bathe her in the bathroom except after her hair cut or coming back from hospital visits where I would need help from another person to give her a bath. Else, I manage the bed bath on my own:
Sliding down is a real issue and can be dangerous as it can lead to aspiration pneumonia especially after food. Here is video resource to help with lifting elderly who slide down:
Sometimes we grieve for the loss but rather than feeling sad over what we cannot change, we can learn to look at the merciful side of this disease:
I have come up with some positive messages which I hope would help make you feel better:
Why an Alzheimer’s/dementia need to use a nasogastric tube and not a PEG tube:
There are 2 types of nasogastric tube- silicon vs plastic. Which one is better: