Until I co-founded U Deliver Medical in 2016, all my experience in the enteral feeding business taught me that pumps were the gold standard for the delivery of tube feeding. I now realize that I was viewing tube feeding through the eyes of the clinical staff – nurses, dietitians and physicians. For them tube feeding is a clinical event, not a meal, a “procedure” that was done to someone. Formula is “medicine”, designed for specific diseases and conditions. And the reimbursement system supports this way of thinking.
It just made sense to apply technology. We designed pumps with elaborate software and alarms to make delivery of synthetic formulas safer and easier. The pump solves a clinical problem with technology. Simple things, like bolus feeding and whole food nutrition, were too simple and unsafe.
The development of the bFed System has radically changed my point of view. I saw the world through the eyes of a person at home with a feeding tube or the caregiver. For them tube feeding is a meal. There’s nothing medical about it. In fact, the education delivered in the hospital, does a disservice to them. It makes them scared of something that is natural and simple.
When you consider the typical way people are introduced to tube feeding tube, it becomes even more frightening. It goes something like this. The day after being discharged with a feeding tube the DME delivery guy drops off the enteral pump and supplies. If they’re fortunate, home care agency’s nurse provides an hour’s worth of instruction. She departs and they are left on their own to cope with a pump beeps all night long at them all night long.
After much trial and error, most people figure it out. Eventually they find others in that same boat and ask questions. They get rid of the synthetic formula, dump the pump and begin living life.
That’s what I heard from caregivers as we developed the bFed System and continue to hear as I speak with customers. Tube feeding can vary from nutrition made from whole foods (Functional Formularies and Real Food Blends), organic, plant based ingredients (Kate Farms) or synthetic ingredients to home made blends. People want to prepare the meal and deliver it, but without the messy syringe! From this came the Bolee Bag, the Bolink Large Cap and Bolink Small Cap – the bFed System.
Don’t get me wrong, pumps and formulas have a role, especially for patients in the ICU recovering from surgery or for conditions requiring a slow delivery of nutrition or specific nutrients. But, if eating by mouth is not possible and your stomach and intestines work, tube feeding is a meal that it goes through a tube – no knife, fork or spoon needed!
Now that I’m Fred, one of the Bolee Guys, I know better and I ask the question – Why Bolus when you can Bolee?