Many kids are tube fed at school. Some kids are able to eat orally during their school day. But, either way parents must make sure that the protocols they set in place are being followed.
Write it into the IEP or 504 Plan
We have detailed information on IEPs and 504 Plans on our Special Education page. The IEP or 504 Plan is the appropriate place to describe a child’s tube feeding regime – from how they should be fed at school, be it via their feeding tube or orally. If your child needs assistance during meal-time, even for oral eating, it should be written into their IEP or 504 plan. Most schools will also require a doctor’s note, prescription, or set of instructions. For additional assistance, see also these guidelines: Resources for the Provision of Nutrition Support to Children in Educational Environments.
Give the school information on safe handling procedures:
- Clean hands before venting a child or attaching an extension set
- Wear gloves when appropriate
- Make sure that tubing is out of the way during toileting/diaper changes
- Ensure that tube sites are not touched by students
Many schools have strict policies on what they will do if a tube is pulled out. Make sure you understand the school’s policy. Some schools will have a nurse replace it, but many will not. Some will do nothing, while others will call 911 for paramedics. It is important for there to be clear directions on who to call (or how to proceed) in the event that this happens. Ideally, schools should have a trained staff member available to replace the tube immediately.
If children are active during the school day or receive physical therapy and there is going to be a possibility of sliding on the tummy or similar activities, you may want to consider protecting the tube site with an ace bandage or G-tube protective belt.