Saying ‘no’ – the alternatives

"Quite often, people don't like the sound of a feeding tube, and that's very understandable" - Chris, Consultant Neurologist

Often people have worries about having a feeding tube fitted and what it’s like to live with one. Some people find their worries are allayed when they find out more about what is involved. Other people come to realise that it is not an option that suits them, and they would rather manage the changes to their swallow and eating in other ways.

For people who decide not to have a tube there are alternatives that can be explored, and this film outlines some of the options you may be offered. Your speech and language therapist can advise you on making foods softer/puréed and thickening drinks. You may be doing this already. The risk of choking remains, so it is important to be aware of the risks.

A feeding tube via the nose (a nasogastric tube) can be an option for some people. However, this is not usually recommended for long-term use. Your care team will be able to explain more about these alternatives to you, to help you think about whether they may be preferable for you and your circumstances. See Key Definitions for any terms new to you.