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AIMS: To describe the nature and causes of patient safety incidents relating to care at home for children with enteral feeding devices. METHODS: We analysed incident data relating to paediatric nasogastric, gastrostomy or jejunostomy feeding at home from England and Wales' National Reporting and Learning System between August 2012 and July 2017. Manual screening by two authors identified 274 incidents which met the inclusion criteria. Each report was descriptively analysed to identify the problems in the delivery of care, the contributory factors and the patient outcome. RESULTS: The most common problems in care related to equipment and devices (n=98, 28%), procedures and treatments (n=86, 24%), information, training and support needs of families (n=54, 15%), feeds (n=52, 15%) and discharge from hospital (n=31, 9%). There was a clearly stated harm to the child in 52 incidents (19%). Contributory factors included staff/service availability, communication between services and the circumstances of the family carer. CONCLUSIONS: There are increasing numbers of children who require specialist medical care at home, yet little is known about safety in this context. This study identifies a range of safety concerns relating to enteral feeding which need further investigation and action. Priorities for improvement are handovers between hospital and community services, the training of family carers, the provision and expertise of services in the community, and the availability and reliability of equipment. Incident reports capture a tiny subset of the total number of adverse events occurring, meaning the scale of problems will be greater than the numbers suggest.

Original publication




Journal article


Arch Dis Child

Publication Date





1174 - 1180


comm child health, gastroenterology, health services research, Adolescent, Caregivers, Child, Child, Preschool, Chronic Disease, England, Enteral Nutrition, Female, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Health Services Research, Humans, Infant, Male, Patient Safety, Safety Management, Wales