When a long, weighted intestinal tube is inserted, the caregiver must assist its advancement into the intestinal tract. The patient is usually placed on the right side for 30 min, then the left side for 30 min, and then on the back as the tube is slowly advanced. These position changes, as well as ambulation, will facilitate movement of the tube into the intestinal tract. These maneuvers may be performed under radiographic control.
Frequent oral hygiene and oral misting is needed to prevent oral ulceration because the patient usually will not be taking fluids by mouth. While the tube is in, the patient should be taught not to mouth breathe or swallow air. Air swallowing enhances entry of air into the gastrointestinal tract opposing intestinal drainage.