Nutrition and Hydration in Palliative Care
This Course uses a holistic framework to explore the reasons why appropriate nutrition and hydration in palliative care is important.
The broad nutritional needs of the person approaching end of life are addressed, and practical suggestions for how health professionals can accurately assess and manage these needs are provided.
- The role of nutrition in palliative care
- Hydration and nutritional assessment
- Ethical dilemmas in palliative care
- Signs and symptoms of imminent death
A person requiring palliative care often presents with fragility and general weakness. During an assessment, they may describe difficulties with their appetite, diet, and fluid intake. Readily observable changes in their appearance might also be evident.
In order to address the tenet of comfort for the individual, and to subsequently meet the individual’s daily comfort needs, it is critical that healthcare professionals accurately assess and manage these changes.
Decisions in relation to the nutritional and hydration needs of a person can then be made together with the person approaching end of life, their caregiver and other members of the interdisciplinary healthcare team.
The purpose of this Course is to reinforce a range of key considerations relating to nutrition and hydration when a person requires palliative care.
- State the major tenet of palliative care and how this relates to nutrition and hydration
- Describe the assessment of a person for nutrition and hydration requirements, clearly differentiating between malnutrition and dehydration, and hunger and thirst
- Describe practical ways to ensure appropriate and timely nutrition and hydration are administered to a person at the end of life
This Course is relevant to registered nurses and other healthcare professionals, especially those working in palliative care, aged care and community settings.
No conflict of interest exists for anyone in the position to control content for this activity. Wherever possible, generic or non-proprietary names of medications or products have been used.
Professor Margaret O’Connor is the inaugural Professor of Nursing at Swinburne University in Melbourne. Prior to this she was the Vivian Bullwinkel Chair in Palliative Care Nursing at Monash University, where she established and led a successful Palliative Care Research Team. Margaret’s research has been widely published, concentrating on models of palliative care , issues of culture and the end of life needs of particular population groups. From 2006 to 2011 Margaret served as the President of Palliative Care Australia and in 2005 she was made a member of the Order of Australia for her significant contribution to the establishment and development of palliative care services in Victoria. She also sits on several committees and Boards. See Educator Profile