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What’s Artificial Hydration and Nutrition?

10 Jul

If you do not have a health care directive, you or someone for you must make the decision. 

Should you be given water (hydration) and nutrition (food)? The tube goes into a feeding tube or a vein (IV Tube). That’s why this is important to have this information in your health care directive. It is very hard for family members to make these decisions when under stress.

A feeding tube goes into the nose to the stomach or they can go through the belly.

When it goes into a vein it is through an IV tube. People who have had surgery often have this, especially if someone is not expected to not heal right away, or if a person can’t eat or drink on their own.

People are less thristy and hungry at the end of their life. This is part of the dying prcoess. It may seem like they are starving themselves.

What are the risks from tubes and IV’s in persons with illness? They can be at risk for an infection, pain, swelling and other problems. For example, fluid can build up in their body, the patient may get worse, or have a hard time breathing. Patients may get loose stools,  skin may itch, or they may get sick to their stomach. In fact, feeding tubes put one at risk for pnuemonia, fever, coughing, and breathing problems.

Those with dementia have trouble eating and swallowing.

It may be hard to remove the tube in an ill person.

Feeding tubes are good for patients with AIDS.

Decide the risks and the purpose. Nutrition and hydration tubes can be stopped at any time.

Dying patients need to focus on the spiritual concerns and preparing for death.

It is important to talk to a pastor, minister, priest, family and friends to see their thoughts when filling out a health care directive.

 

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