Tube feeding is a common, and frequently long-term, form of life support. Currently, no distinction is made between short-and long-term tube feeding; the latter being a replacement of the ability to eat on an ongoing, possibly permanent, basis. Little research has focussed on long-term feeding. Consequently, the implications and practices of long-term feeding remain undetermined. Hospital charts of ten accessible patients, who had long-term tube feeding were examined in order to answer pre-determined questions. Reporting includes: feeding solution types, tubes, and methods; medical diagnoses and functional reasons for tube feeding; changes in mental and physical conditions since initiation of tube feeding; involvement of nurses and others in tube feeding decisions, and decisions to continue tube feeding after initiation. Tube feeding was demonstrated to be capable of sustaining life over long periods of time. Despite improved nutrition, patients' overall levels of mental and physical capacity and self-care abilities were found unimproved. Maintenance of life may be the only goal of long-term tube feeding.