February 7, 2020
Did you know that some individuals cannot get all the nutrition they need from eating and drinking, and require the help of a feeding tube to thrive? Did you know that with the right information and support, parents and caregivers can learn how to use a feeding tube safely at home? Did you know that individuals with feeding tubes can play, run, swim, participate in sports and travel?
To mark Feeding Tube Awareness Week 2020, the John McGivney Children’s Centre (JMCC) hosted a meet-and-greet event on February 6th for children and adults living with feeding tubes and their families as well as support workers and professionals. Attendees were given the opportunity to learn from one another and share knowledge and experience around enteral feeding.
Four years ago, a dedicated JMCC grandma, Wendy Harling, came up with the idea for an event like this. “After learning of my grandson Jacob’s needs surrounding feeding and nutrition, I found that there wasn’t much of a local support system to answer my many questions or provide guidance on important decisions that had to be made for his survival,” says Harling. However, one place where she always felt supported was JMCC. Therefore, Harling approached her grandson’s team at JMCC about a feeding tube awareness event. What started four years ago with a bulletin board and information sharing in the Centre’s waiting room, has grown into an annual community event, with this year’s event being the biggest one yet.
Danielle Heibein, Nurse Practitioner from London Health Sciences Centre, who specializes in enteral feeding, joined via video-conference to share information about the different types of feeding tubes as well as common tube-site issues and treatment options. She offered a variety of tips and tricks including information on tube maintenance and available financial resources and also took the time to answer questions. Afterward, attendees had the opportunity to meet one another, talk with various JMCC staff, meet and learn from local vendors and community partners and so much more!
The goal of this event and promoting feeding tube awareness is to highlight the fact that with the right information and resources, individuals living with feeding tubes can thrive and achieve their full potential.
Check out our photo gallery for more pictures from this awesome event!