It was 8 years ago when Liz became dependent on Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) due to intestinal failure. TPN is a method of feeding that bypasses the gastrointestinal tract. A special formula that contains the nutrients the body needs to survive is given through a vein.
After years of relying on her husband to manage and help her with the complicated procedure of administering TPN feedings, she was relieved to find a care company who would offer support.
Unfortunately, it was a nightmare trying to organise when they would show up. Unable to offer her a fixed schedule, her husband ended up having to do it all which was frustrating and demanding.
That’s when we came along.
Read on to learn more about Liz’s journey with specialised TPN care and how our homecare services in Suffolk, Essex and Greater London provided her with the personalised support she needed to live well.
Support that goes above and beyond
When we found out that Liz requires specialised TPN support to help her live, we were happy to help. We immediately set about ensuring Jay, her carer, was properly trained. This was no easy process. Because of the high risk of infection and its potentially fatal consequences, the training was intense. For this reason, many care companies aren’t willing to invest the time and effort into training their carers to perform the complicated procedure. But we were committed to helping Liz and her husband.
For several weeks, Jay trained to safely operate the pump, flush the catheter, do all the connections and disconnections, and deliver the TPN formula and any medicine through the catheter. He studied all the possible signs of infection and what to do if he sees one. Just like a surgeon, he learned how to do the six-stage hand washing procedure to make sure all parts of his hand are clean.
To be considered qualified, Jay had to be signed off doing the procedure well without any prompts four times. The hardest thing he had to learn was how to put on sterile gloves without touching anything. With cleanliness being such an important factor, even the room where the procedure takes place needs to be as clean as possible.
Life that relies on TPN
Liz is 100% dependent on TPN for her fluids and food. Although the procedure is not without its risks, without TPN, she wouldn’t be alive. Most patients receive between 1500 and 2500 calories a day depending on their age, sex and weight, and cause of TPN.
Each morning, Jay visits Liz between 7:30 and 8:00 in the morning, and again at 3:00 in the afternoon. The entire process takes 30 minutes each time. Before starting the process, they do a checklist to ensure everything is in order. This involves making sure the bags are in date, and double checking for leaks and cracks which can cause infection. He also needs to check the temperature of the fridge to ensure that the bags are kept between 2 degrees and 8 degrees.
Life with The Care Advantage
Although the TPN feeding process is complicated, Liz believes that her improved quality of life overrides all the risks. Despite living with a chronic illness, her quality of life is still important to her – and it’s important to us too.
With help from Jay and the rest of our team, Liz’s life has changed for the better. Having a committed carer who comes at the same time each day has made a huge difference in her life and has relieved her husband of a lot of pressure. She is grateful for everything Jay has done, including helping her with her assistance dog, assisting her in getting in and out of her scooter, and even driving her to the hospital when necessary to give her husband a break – all while feeling more like a friend than a carer.
Get in touch
If you or your loved one could benefit from personalised care, we are here for you. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team who would be happy to answer any of your questions or address any of your concerns. We are here to support you in any way we can.