Swindon firm trials new technology to help tube-feeding

By Barrie Hudson - 7 February 2024

HealthBusiness
  • Mark Chadswick of Vygon UK

    Mark Chadswick of Vygon UK

Vygon UK is trialling a new feeding pump to support blended diet and thicker feeds.

  • The new punp

    The new punp

Following the release of new research among families who have chosen blended diet for their tube-fed loved ones over artificial feed, the Swindon-based firm has announced its plans to provide equipment that will support blended diet and thicker feeds.

The easymoov6 enteral feeding pump is currently undergoing extensive evaluation, and aims to improve access to blended diet, which is an emerging – and emotive - area of healthcare.   

Vygon UK's Mark Chadwick said: “We commissioned research with the University of Nottingham to better understand the current landscape for blended diet and thicker feeds. 

"It became clear that the equipment available to deliver food in this manner is crucial to the families, but also the clinicians, who want to support blended diet.  

“Vygon’s enteral products align with the British Dietetic Association’s position on blended diet, with guidance to align with individual patient need. 

"Specifically for our easymoov6 pump, we are currently conducting extensive testing for blends of IDDSI Ievel 3 consistency. 

“The ultimate objective is for Vygon to present an enteral pump – that works alongside our feeding tubes and giving sets - which offers peace of mind for families exploring blended diet and thicker feeds.” 

Offering a quiet continuous flow for use through feeding times, the easymoov6 has a powerful peristaltic rotor making it suitable for liquidised level 3 feeds, based upon the IDDSI Framework. It features an intuitive screen to manage the pump, and nutrition modes supported by and audible alarms.  

It is currently being tested with Wilbo’s Blends – a UK company named after founder Gareth Birkett’s young son William. The firm produces ready-made pouches of pre blended organic meals, with around 23,000 of the meals enjoyed to date.  

Wilbo’s Blends CEO Gareth said: “My story starts eight years ago when my son William, affectionately known as Wilbo, was born. 

"He has complex needs and was formula fed for around four years, until I had an epiphany - why would I feed my son something I wouldn’t eat myself? We stumbled across blended diet and observed huge changes in his health by making the switch without any clinical support – he began growing, putting on weight, he was more energetic and healthier.

"William is now established on blended diet and sits at the dinner table with the family to eat meals together. 

“My mission is to widen access to blended diet, educate families so they can go to a dietitian and have an informed conversation, and break down the barriers that are still ubiquitous in the health, social care and education systems around this approach. 

“When it comes to equipment, the pumps available are for liquid only. There are hacks some families use, but there is no pump designed to be used with thicker feeds or blended diet. 

"Because Wilbo’s Blends are of the same consistency, our meals are a good proving ground and can give a reference point for a pump for blends.  It would be a huge step forward for the blended diet community to have something fit for purpose for a blended diet.” 

Lesley Rogers, a mother who has used blended diet for her daughter, Ruby, for over a decade, said: “Every morning when I wake up I panic because I adapt the giving set to allow me to pump food for Ruby, and I worry each day it won’t work. 

“My daughter is deaf and blind and she won’t allow her food to be plunged as an alternative, because she’s used to a pump. She will probably always need to eat this way - and I won’t be alive forever. It’s frightening. 

"We need a pump that is specially designed for blended food. If we had pumps that could be used easily, I’m sure more families would adopt blended diet.”  

The findings of the BLENDS research are available at https://blendsproject.co.uk/

People can learn more about easymoov6 at https://www.vygon.co.uk/product/enteral/easymoov6-enteralfeeding-pump/  

 

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