Article Text

Improving the documentation of nasogastric tube insertion and adherence to local enteral nutrition guidelines
  1. Esther Cole
  1. Noble's Hospital, Isle of Man
  1. Correspondence to
    Esther Cole e_coleuk{at}


Fine bore nasogastric (NG) tubes are often required for patients who have insufficient nutrition to meet their daily requirements, as well as for feeding or medications when there are difficulties with swallowing. “Death or severe harm as a result of a naso […] gastric tubes being misplaced in the respiratory tract” is one of the Department of Health’s list of "never events". Noble’s Hospital, Isle of Man, has local guidelines based on the National Patient Safety Agency’s 2005 guidelines and 2011 update, regarding the initial insertion and confirmation of placement of NG tubes.

Retrospective baseline data looking at 13 case notes across 10 hospital wards showed that the majority of NG tube insertions took place on the stroke unit. A three-point quality of guidelines score showed that 8/13 (62%) cases were following guidelines appropriately. A seven-point quality of documentation score showed no case notes had full documentation.

A teaching intervention for junior doctors and nurses was devised. However, there was no significant improvement in quality scores after 90 days (49 NG tube insertions). Therefore, an NG tube bundle, which included a pro forma for the case notes, information poster, and sticker for the nurse notes, was trialled on the stroke unit for six weeks. This showed that 10/12 (83%) cases were following guidelines appropriately. While only 2/12 (16%) of case notes had full documentation, this represented the two occasions when the pro forma was filled in and filed correctly. It is hoped that there could be a roll out of the intervention hospital-wide with identification of ways to improve usage of the NG tube bundle.

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