Anthony Phillips and team have been awarded an MBIE ‘Smart Ideas’ grant to improve the way people are given enteral feeding.

When people cannot meet their nutritional requirements an intervention is required. This is usually by feeding them with a tube inserted via the nose into the stomach or intestine. Patients of all ages can require tube feeding including premature babies through to the elderly, and those in home, ward and intensive care settings. The issue is that all current enteral feeding systems are manual, generic and associated with significant risks of feeding intolerance and intestinal injury that then requires manual interruption of the feeding. The resulting suboptimal nutrition is associated with increased length of hospital stay and higher hospital costs.

We are developing an alternative approach that will provide a better way to ensure that patients receive optimal nutrition.  The augmented nutrition system will be developed in New Zealand and is expected to offer a number of benefits ranging from new knowledge about nutrition, through to employment in the sector and then direct health benefits for patients.