The impact of home enteral feeding on the daily lives of people with head and neck cancer: A metasynthesis of qualitative studies

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Abstract

Background
Home enteral feeding (HEF) may have a wider impact on peoples' daily lives beyond influencing their nutritional and clinical status. This metasynthesis aimed to determine the impact of HEF on peoples' daily lives.

Methods
Qualitative studies were included with adults, who had been diagnosed with head and neck cancer and had finished their cancer treatment, with a feeding tube in place. Medline, PubMed and Cinahl were searched (August 2009 to August 2019). Thematic synthesis was conducted to interpret findings from the included studies. The ‘Confidence in the Evidence from Reviews of Qualitative research’ (GRADE‐CERQual) approach was used to assess the level of confidence associated with each review finding.

Results
Seven qualitative studies met the eligibility criteria. Four overarching themes were identified. ‘Loss of life as they once knew it’ encompassed loss of normality. ‘Developing personal coping strategies works towards restoring a sense of normality’ encapsulated active adjustment and acceptance of the feeding tube. ‘Navigating the hurdles when transitioning back to eating’ comprised the trials and tribulations of returning to oral intake. Overall, participants recognised that they could not have managed without the feeding tube and this is encapsulated in ‘Feeding tube valued’.

Conclusions
In many cases, initial feelings of change and loss as a result of HEF were replaced with empowerment, adaptation and acceptance following a period of adjustment. Despite the challenges associated with HEF, participants acknowledged its purpose as being functional, as well as reassuring. Future research should explore barriers and facilitators to self‐management and patient empowerment amongst those receiving HEF.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal Human Nutrition and Dietetics
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2019

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