Good nutrition is essential to growth, healing, and vitality. For a variety of reasons, some people are not able to eat. In order to receive essential nutrients, such patients require supplying the nutrients using a means that does not involve chewing or swallowing. Adequate hydration must be provided, but most people can go without nutrition for at least seven days. However, depending on the situation, nutritional support may need to be started sooner than that. While in some patients the inability to eat may be temporary, in others it may be permanent.
The preferred means of providing nutrition in these situations is via the gut, known as enteral nutrition. It is the natural way in which nutrients are absorbed and it allows the