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Patient Information

When a person is on Home Enteral Nutrition (HEN), they have the freedom they would otherwise not have if required to stay in the hospital. HEN consumers have the ability to go out and do things – even while the formula is infusing.

Many HEN consumers experience an improved quality of life and are able to attend school, work and travel.

There are challenges associated with HEN but most consumers find them manageable. The following are some things to consider:


The amount of time patients spend on their home enteral nutrition varies greatly from one consumer to the next. The amount of time required depends on the:

  • Type of feeding tube: some patients choose to self-insert a naso-gastric tube through their nose, down their esophagus and into their stomach each time they feed. Others have a permanent feeding tube in their stomach or small bowel that requires regular care. Some consumers take their formula orally and do not need a feeding tube.
  • Type of formula: some formulas are liquid and “ready to use” whereas other formulas are powdered and require mixing with water.
  • Length of infusion: some patients infuse their formula at different times during the day with each infusion ranging from a few minutes to a few hours. Other consumers infuse their formula continuously overnight while they sleep.

Another consideration for some HEN consumers is the time required to take medications. Some patients need to have their medications in liquid form or crushed and mixed with water to infuse through their tube.


HEN requires enough space to keep formula and supplies dry at room temperature.

Physical Strength

The formula comes in cases and can be heavy.


Patients of the BC HEN Program are responsible for ordering their own formula and supplies from our supplier, Product Distribution Centre. Call 604-927-2910 or 1-877-927-2234 or email PDC.Callcentre@gov.bc.ca to place an order.

Product Distribution Centre (PDC) ships the formula and supplies direct to the patient. PDC requires 2 to 3 business days for an order to be processed and delivered anywhere in BC.


HEN is not without risks. Consumers must learn what those risks are, how to prevent them and how to spot them early so they can get treated.  Some of the complications can be life threatening if not treated in time.

Please see HEN Troubleshooting for more information about complications.

Ongoing Care for Patients

The BC HEN Program is not staffed to provide clinical care to patients who are receiving formula and supplies through the Program. Please continue to receive regular care from the physician and/or dietitian who referred you to the BC HEN Program.

BC HEN Program patients who have questions about their formula and supplies can contact us during standard business hours.

Please visit the Contact Us page for information on how to reach the BC HEN Program team.

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