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According to a recent study, gastric feeding tubes prescribed for patients who suffer from dementia may actually increase the risk of pressure ulcers, also called bed sores.

Many dementia patients eventually have a difficult time eating. Swallowing especially can be affected by the disease, which can lead to aspiration pneumonia.  As a result, doctors frequently prescribed the insertion of gastric feeding tubes. The tube is inserted in a small incision that is made in a patient’s abdomen and that is how the patient receives nutrition.

Gastric feeding tubes cause many dementia patients to become agitated. As a result, it often becomes necessary to restrain and sedate them. With the patient now restrained in bed for the majority of time, the risk of bed sores greatly increases. The study revealed that 35.6 percent of patients, who did not initially have bed sores before a feeding tube was inserted, developed a stage 2 bed sore (or worse) with the feeding tube. Fewer than 20 percent of patients who did not have feeding tubes developed bed sores.

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