Enteral Feeding
March 3, 2021

How To Discuss the ENFit Transition with Concerned Parents

The global transition to ENFit® connection systems may seem complicated to parents, but providing them will clear information in an approachable way can help.
The global transition to ENFit® connection systems may seem complicated to parents, but providing them will clear information in an approachable way can help.

Many parents are unfamiliar with enteral equipment and common NICU devices, so they can be a little intimidating at first glance. Doing what you can to put parents’ minds at ease goes a long way toward building trust and creating a tension-free environment in which NICU babies can rest, recuperate, and grow.

ENFit® products are the new global standard for enteral feeding systems, but because of their relative novelty, many parents either haven’t heard of them or don’t understand how they work. Here's a short guide to discussing the ENFit® transition with concerned parents and helping them understand why enteral safety is so important.

Discuss the importance of preventing misconnections

It’s easiest to begin by explaining to parents that misconnections, which occur when patients’ tubing lines are improperly connected to incompatible systems, can often result in serious harm. Unfortunately, misconnections are a fairly common occurrence, with one survey finding that 16.1 percent of US hospitals had reported an enteral misconnection. This is a number that likely skews low, as misconnections can sometimes be reported as a dosing issue or “medication error” instead.

Misconnections are possible because some older tubing systems use luer-lock or luer-slip connectors to perform multiple functions for very distinct systems (e.g. dialysis catheters, gas tubing, or IV lines). This may seem like an easy way to maximize efficiency, but using the same connection system for disparate systems invites complications in practice, even with line tracing protocols in place. After discussing the danger of misconnections and exploring why it’s so important to reduce them, bring up ENFit® products as a solution to this problem.

Explain that ENFit® is the enteral technology of the future

ENFit® connection systems were developed in response to the clear need to prevent misconnections. ENFit® products use a distinct connector lock that is only compatible with other ENFit® devices, thereby removing the opportunity for enteral misconnections altogether. ENFit® connection systems are the latest innovation in NICU medical equipment, but some parents might be worried that they’re a passing fad.  

To push back against this misconception, emphasize the fact that the transition to ENFit® has been slow, systematic, and carefully planned out over many years to increase enteral feeding safety. Reassure parents that your hospital is transitioning to ENFit® to comply with new enteral safety initiatives and stock the latest, safest products. You can also touch on the fact that the transition to ENFit® products has already begun around the globe. The European Union, Australia, and New Zealand have almost completely converted to the new standards, with the rest of the world following suit. Some parents feel more at ease around new technology if they know that numerous other hospitals have chosen to update their enteral feeding systems as well.

Demonstrate how ENFit® products work

It’s one thing to explain that ENFit® devices use a unique locking mechanism, but it’s another thing entirely to let parents see it in action. If you have the resources and staff available, it’s worthwhile to set up formal information sessions that walk parents through the ins and outs of ENFit® products on a deeper level. If not, NICU nurses can show parents how ENFit® products work whenever they have a free moment. Show parents how administration sets include the new ENFit® female connector, demonstrate how ENFit® products securely connect to one another to prevent leaks, and highlight how ENFit® products can be used to safely administer medication as well.

Improve NICU Health Outcomes with Kentec

Getting ENFit® products in your hospital and improving your patient outcomes is as simple as getting in touch with Kentec Medical. We work closely with procurement managers and NICU staff during the development and rollout processes to make sure that everyone’s on the same page and clearly understands how ENFit® products are intended to be used. When you partner with us, you gain access to our years of expertise in the enteral space and we know the burning questions that are on every parent’s mind when they arrive at the NICU. We can equip you with the tools you need to reassure concerned parents about the importance and efficacy of ENFit® in a clear, concise, and approachable way.

Kentec Medical firmly believes that top-notch customer service creates the foundation that allows healthcare providers to improve NICU patient outcomes — that’s why we offer both ENFit® and safety oral enteral products, so we’ll be able to assist you with the transition no matter what devices you have. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.

Works Cited

The Global Enteral Device Supplier Association.  (2020, August). ENFit Conversion: A Global Perspective. Retrieved from https://stayconnected.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/GEDSA_Global_Perspective_August2020.pdf

Guenter, P., Hicks, R. W., Simmons, D., Crowley, J., Joseph, S., Croteau, R., Gosnell, C., Pratt, N. G., & Vanderveen, T. W. (2008). Enteral feeding misconnections: a consortium position statement. Joint Commission journal on quality and patient safety, 34(5), 285–245. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1553-7250(08)34035-5

ISO 80369-3:2016. (2017, November 08). Retrieved February 24, 2021, from https://www.iso.org/standard/50731.html

Staebler, S. (2013). Enteral Feeding Misconnections in the NICU: A Continuing Patient Safety Threat. Advances in Neonatal Care, 13(6), 447-453.