Updated: Apr 6
It may seem chaotic to travel when someone in your family relies on a feeding tube, but what can you do about it? Whether you are heading to visit grandma or finally taking that once-in-a-lifetime vacation, a little forethought goes a long way to improving the experience. The real trick is to plan ahead when managing both a feeding tube and travel. Consider some helpful ways you can make your next family vacation more enjoyable for all.
Start With a Doctor Visit
Your doctor is a good resource when planning your vacation, not only for tips but to get documentation that makes your travel easier. Talk to your doctor about potential risks during your travel and how to manage them if they do happen. Make sure to get an emergency contact number for a nurse or doctor in case there is a problem.
Get Necessary Documentation
This is especially critical if you are traveling by air or need to pass through some other type of security like a theme park or even a train. Some of the supplies you need to take with you might be seen as security risks, so you need a letter from your physician explaining why you must carry things like a feeding pump and liquid formula at all times.
The Oley Foundation suggests carrying a letter that contains a bullet list of necessary supplies and an explanation of how you will use them and why it's necessary for you to have them. The letter should have contact information for your physician so security can call to validate it, as well. Make sure your letter is written in the correct language for the country you are visiting. If you are traveling overseas, you may need multiple copies in different languages.
Create a special folder and fill it with essential documents, such as:
Your security letters
A list of medications
An allergy list
This way the information is easily accessible if you need it.
Make a Checklist
Write a list of must-have feeding supplies. Put the list aside and revisit it several times before leaving for your trip. This gives you the opportunities to double- and triple-check your supplies ahead of time.
Consider setting up a shipment of the heavier supplies to the hotel or another destination where you can pick them up while away. This reduces the risk of an accident during your travel and makes it easy to move around. Create an inventory list of your supplies once you get everything organized. This way you know at a glance what you are carrying and what is being delivered. Update the list throughout your trip so you always know what you have on hand.
Map a Plan for Emergencies
Do research to find retail locations that sell the supplies you might need while on the road, too. This will give a backup in case you missed something or have an emergency of some kind — like the formula spills or a tube leaks.
Locate hospitals along your route, especially children’s hospitals if traveling with a little one using a feeding tube. Contact airports, hotels and even theme parks ahead of time to let them know that you are traveling with someone who has special needs and give them a chance to help.
Don’t let a feeding tube keep your family from making memories while on vacation. All it takes is a little extra planning, so you can relax and enjoy your time away from home.
Kozie Clothes Gtube and feeding tube clothing is available from our store, which can make it easier to manage these medical instruments.
Author bio: Elizabeth Duhan serves as the Marketing Project Specialist at Applied Medical Technology, Inc. — a global leader and manufacturer of enteral feeding devices and accessories, upholding the highest standard for performance and quality assurance for over 30 years.