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Nutrition and Hydration in Palliative Care

Speciality Classification
Nurses and Midwives

Course Overview

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 the end of life are addressed, along with practical suggestions for how health professionals can accurately assess and provide for these needs.


  • 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.

Learning Outcomes

  • 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.

Target Audience

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.


Margaret O'Connor

Margaret is Emeritus Professor of Nursing at Monash University, having previously been Professor of Palliative Care Nursing for 12 years. She has a distinguished career in clinical palliative care; and in establishing home-based palliative care services across Melbourne, for which she received an Order of Australia in 2005. She continues to work at Melbourne City Mission Palliative Care, assisting with research.

Nutrition and Hydration in Palliative Care
Speciality Classification
Interest Areas / Topics Covered
Agedcare, Lifestyle and nutrition, Palliative care
Provider Type
Non Profit Organisation
CPD Points
1 hour 15 minutes of CPD
Price Details
Subscription Needed
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Price: FreeSubscription Needed
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