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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Perspective | Problems swallowing are a big killer, but the treatment can be horrible

"The American Geriatrics Society flatly recommends against placing feeding tubes in patients with advanced dementia, and endorses hand-feeding by caregivers as a safer and more humane approach. Placing feeding tubes in these patients does not reduce the likelihood of death or pneumonia, and is instead associated with agitation, pressure ulcers and a bevy of other tube-related complications. A full quarter of dementia patients who get feeding tubes need to be physically restrained, with soft handcuffs pinning them to their hospital bed to prevent them from pulling the tube. Rather than preventing suffering in those with advanced dementia, feeding tubes can cause it."
from Rajesh Harrykissoon, MD