Do We Require Food and Water at End-Of-Life? NurseBob Discusses Nutrition and Hydration for the Terminally ILL



Today I’m starting a new series on my video blog:

Force Feed Your Dying Loved-One? Nutrition and End of Life – Part 1 – An Overview

In concert with that effort, I’m going to be noting the important points here for those who prefer, or need, a text version rather than video. As the references noted below indicate, I’ve been doing my homework. I am in the process of adapting and summarizing the information for this medium.
While I have some strong feelings and opinions on whether we should do tube or intravenous feedings and hydration with someone who’s near the end-of-life, my focus here will be to provide sufficient information so that you can choose the path you believe is best for you or your loved-one. There can be significant issues with adding hydration and nutrition for someone who’s near death, and research indicates that there is little or no benefit to balance the risks and potential loss of quality of life in the last days.
I don’t know any health professionals who want to cause undue suffering for those they care for, but I have seen situations where they find themselves challenged to deal with the needs of the living, who don’t realize the full consequences of their requests – which usually boil down to: “Keep my loved-one alive as long as possible.” It’s very hard in that situation not to try to offer some lifeline, some hope, to the family, and in those circumstances, last-ditch medical technology can be offered, but without necessarily noting all of the potential risks for the patient.

It’s my goal to provide sufficient resources so that you can ask the right questions, and get the answers you need. Choices made in ignorance are dangerous to both the patient and the survivors, the negative outcomes may impact not only the patient’s health and comfort, but might also leave lasting psychological issues for the survivors.

This topic is complex, and requires some understanding of physiology, pathophysiology, and even some chemistry. Thus my choice to do the text and video blogs in segments, and where practical on the video blog, show some demonstrations of what happens when our body chemistry becomes deranged due to the disease processes involved. I hope you find the information both useful and interesting. And most importantly, if you should find yourself in the position of having to make decisions about some else’s nutrition and hydration at the end-of-life, you will have sufficient information to ask all the right questions to aid you in your decision.

References Researched: References

Stay Well -NurseBob

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NurseBob’s Back!!!

Ok, “later this week” stretched out a bit – to three weeks! My apologies!!!
I’ve been trying to manage both my home office “reorg” along with a work schedule that has impacted my blogging availability. I’ve discovered, and had to accept, that I am no longer the “twenty-something” who could get by on only four hours sleep day-in and day-out. Rather, I’m a “sixty-something” who needs to accept that I need at least six hours sleep, and also to recognize that a 150 mile daily commute on a motorcycle leaves me with little energy to do more than sit down and lie-back in a recliner at the end of the day, fianlly stumbling off to bed after my brain has slowed enough to drop-off to sleep.
So, what’s up? I’m starting a multi-segment episode on an aspect of end-of-life care for a loved-one. Namely, Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) – providing “food” for someone we love who has no chance of recovery. This is a challenging subject, and one that can not be addressed in a single segment. Starting today I will try to look at all the aspects of keeping someone alive as long as is medically possible. For the video version check out