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Vol 10, No 1 (2011)
Review articles
Published online: 2011-04-26
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To feed or not to feed? Clinical aspects of withholding and withdrawing food and fluids at the end of life

Anna Nowarska
Advances in Palliative Medicine 2011;10(1):3-10.

open access

Vol 10, No 1 (2011)
Review articles
Published online: 2011-04-26

Abstract

The issue of withholding and withdrawing clinically assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH) for imminently dying patients is very contentious. There is no agreement between medical professionals and problem of forgoing CANH is subject of a fierce and sometimes emotional debate.

This paper makes an attempt to examine briefly current clinical evidence on withdrawing and withholding CANH at the end of life. It tries to assess whether it is always beneficial for a patient to provide CANH or whether providing CANH may sometimes cause more harm than good. It also addresses a question whether forgoing CANH for some imminently dying patients is consistent with fundamentals of palliative care. For this reason withholding or withdrawing CANH will be analysed in a context of basic assumptions of palliative care which are presented in the World Health Organisation’s definition of this distinctive branch of medicine.

Adv. Pall. Med. 2011; 10, 1: 3–10

Abstract

The issue of withholding and withdrawing clinically assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH) for imminently dying patients is very contentious. There is no agreement between medical professionals and problem of forgoing CANH is subject of a fierce and sometimes emotional debate.

This paper makes an attempt to examine briefly current clinical evidence on withdrawing and withholding CANH at the end of life. It tries to assess whether it is always beneficial for a patient to provide CANH or whether providing CANH may sometimes cause more harm than good. It also addresses a question whether forgoing CANH for some imminently dying patients is consistent with fundamentals of palliative care. For this reason withholding or withdrawing CANH will be analysed in a context of basic assumptions of palliative care which are presented in the World Health Organisation’s definition of this distinctive branch of medicine.

Adv. Pall. Med. 2011; 10, 1: 3–10

Get Citation

Keywords

clinically assisted nutrition and hydration; withholding and withdrawing food and fluids; dying

About this article
Title

To feed or not to feed? Clinical aspects of withholding and withdrawing food and fluids at the end of life

Journal

Advances in Palliative Medicine

Issue

Vol 10, No 1 (2011)

Pages

3-10

Published online

2011-04-26

Bibliographic record

Advances in Palliative Medicine 2011;10(1):3-10.

Keywords

clinically assisted nutrition and hydration
withholding and withdrawing food and fluids
dying

Authors

Anna Nowarska

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