It takes a caring group of people to get patients back to the things that matter. With that in mind, this recent interview shines the spotlight on Catherine from the Avanos Partners in Quality (PIQ) team.
Q: Tell us about yourself.
Catherine Ridgeway: I’m a registered nurse who’s licensed in two states, and an active member in many nursing and industry associations. After working 14 years as a clinician, I moved into the medical device industry. I’ve been in this industry for more than 20 years.
As a clinical and product educator and trainer, I’ve worked quite a bit in these areas:
- Acute care
- Surgical and diagnostic systems
Something else I’ve enjoyed is training, serving and supporting patients, doctors and clinicians inside and outside of hospitals. I’m now a link between the company and end-users. This involves reviewing device features, benefits and design, and teaching how to use them correctly. It’s been rewarding to be a product quality specialist on the Avanos PIQ team for the last six years.
Q: What does the PIQ team do?
Catherine Ridgeway: PIQ handles product-related questions by phone, email, fax or social media. We also help troubleshoot issues and respond to comments and product feedback. We’re here to be a source of information about Avanos products and their performance.
Q: Who do you typically talk to?
Catherine Ridgeway: It’s a long list!
- Tube users and parents or caregivers of the tube user
- Nurses, doctors or technicians
- Other hospital staff who serve in non-clinical roles
- Medical suppliers and distributors, such as home health or medical equipment companies
Q: What are the top three questions you’re asked?
Catherine Ridgeway: The questions we hear most often include:
- Which extension set should I use?
We explain that MIC-KEY* extensions are universal and can be used on all MIC-KEY* tubes. Based on how the feed is given, one of these tubes is used:
- MIC-KEY* Continuous Extension Set (for pump use)
- MIC-KEY* Bolus Extension Set (for syringe or gravity feed use)
MIC* tubes don’t usually need an extension, but for those who want one, we have an extension set with a clamp.
2. Why did the feeding tube come out?
The feeding tube stays in place using a balloon filled with water. If the balloon loses volume, it won’t be enough to keep the tube in place. We suggest that the balloon volume is checked every week to make sure the tube is safely in place. I also suggest filling the balloon with sterile or distilled water.
3. How often should I change my feeding tube?
Experiences vary, but we find that most feeding tubes are exchanged every three months. Extension sets are replaced every few weeks. Since only G tubes can be replaced at home, your care team will advise or schedule replacements for you.
Q: What other tips would you offer for managing common issues?
Catherine Ridgeway: I also advise tube users to:
- Use the liquid form to take medicines when possible. If you can’t, be sure to finely crush the pills and flush your tube well to avoid clogging.
- With growth (weight gain), a different size tube may be needed. Ask your care team to use a Stoma Measuring Device to make sure the stoma (the opening) length is correct.
Q: Anything else you’d like to share?
Catherine Ridgeway: Trust your instincts and feel free to ask questions. Also, be sure to check out your feeding tube care guides — they’re full of great information.
PIQ (Partners In Quality) is here to help and can be reached by calling Avanos Medical at 1- 844-428-2667, choose option #1 then option #3.