To feed or not to feed?

To feed or not to feed

When the child is no longer able to swallow, certain decisions need to be made about feeds, fluids and medication.

Note: Starvation causes ketosis which leads to the release of endogenous endorphins, which diminish hunger, cause euphoria and enhance the effects of analgesia medications. Providing dextrose-containing IV fluids may prolong the dying process so is not recommended.

Children often lose their appetite towards the end-of-life, and their metabolic needs decrease. Management options include:

  • Do not feed the child if they are not hungry.
  • Ideally give fluids orally rather than through an intravenous line.

See Amery pg 339

Leaflet from Footprints 4 Sam on artificial feeding