Withhold gastrostomy tubes from terminal patients, report advises

A special report by the International Clinical Ethics Section of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) recommends withholding gastrostomy tubes (G-tube) and other enteral devices from patients with advanced dementia or others near the end of life.

“Current scientific literature suggests that the potential benefits of tube feeding do not outweigh the associated burdens of treatment in persons with advanced dementia,” according to the report.

The authors recommend that the patients’ families and loved ones understand the reason for withholding the G-tube so they can participate with the interdisciplinary to team to provide person-centered care. The authors further advise that long-term care facilities and hospitals should develop a process to encourage the use of advance directives in end-of-life planning.

The article been published in the OnlineFirst edition of Nutrition in Clinical Practice, the official journal of ASPEN.

Topics: Alzheimer's/Dementia , Clinical