Enteral Feeding Pump and Parenteral Nutrition

An Enteral Feeding Pump is used to administer a balanced, liquid nutritional formula directly to the digestive tract through a flexible tube. Enteral therapy allows your healthcare team to adjust the amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals you receive by adjusting the amounts and types of formula you receive.

Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) is a liquid food that goes directly into the blood stream, by passing the digestive tract.

Total = "Complete." The solution contains most of the components of a well-balanced diet: protein, vitamins, minerals, salts, sugar, fats and water.

Parenteral = Outside the digestive tract. To feed through the veins.

Nutrition = Foods and fluids which provide nutrients. Nutrients are substances essential to life and health. They are the building blocks for new tissue and the chemicals that support our vital body functions.

Why is TPN Used?

  • To provide "rest" to the gastrointestinal system, for instance following surgery or radiation therapy or when vomiting prevents eating.
  • When there is a disease or blockage of the small bowel or other digestive organs.
  • When a portion of the bowel has been removed.

TPN can replace all of the food you have been eating. In some cases you may be permitted to eat and drink while receiving TPN. In these cases your physician and/or dietitian will review your diet with you.

Medicare Information and Qualifications:

Medicare covers enteral nutrients, supplies and equipment if the patient is unable to digest or carry food to the small bowel to maintain weight and strength. This must be a condition that is determined by the treating doctor to be permanent. Enteral therapy is covered for patients who cannot swallow or take food orally. Nutrition must be delivered through a tube directly into the gastrointestinal tract and may be given by a syringe, gravity, or a pump.

Medicare covers parenteral nutrition only when the patient is unsuccessful using enteral nutrition. Parenteral nutrition, administered through an intravenous line into the bloodstream, is given to an individual whose gastrointestinal tract is unable to process food normally; a result of either the patient's gastrointestinal tract is missing or not functioning. This must be a condition that is determined by the treating doctor to be permanent.

Medicare will not pay for nutritional formulas that are taken orally.

An order (prescription) must be on file with the supplier. It must be signed and dated by the treating doctor.

Also, a DIF form, completed by the supplier, must be on file.

The items listed below are often sold, prescribed or needed in addition to the equipment above.

  • Extra spike sets
  • IV pole

Disclaimer: This is a sampling of information. Please refer to the CMS website (www.cms.gov) and consult your own experts for additional information.