End of life person’s evaluation criteria in the decision making regarding artificial nutrition

Tânia Afonso*, Filipa Veludo, Patrícia P. Sousa, Sónia Santos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review



Background: Artificial nutrition at the end of life is assumed as a medical intervention, however for a large percentage of person’s and families is considered as basic care [1]. Thinking about artificial nutrition and the end of life person, such as the person with advanced, incurable and progressive disease, with a survival expectancy between 3 to 6 months [2] is often reflected on a set of issues. This is a controversial discussion, about the quality of life resulting of one of these means and ethical questioning [3]. It’s relevant to look to the user/family as one, which motivates the urgent intervention of the nurses in decision-making support. Objective: Identify scientific evidence regarding the end-of-life evaluation criteria, to be considered in the nurses’ decision-making about artificial nutrition. Methods: Literature Review (15-06-2017) with PRISMA guidelines for reviews [4] in Academic Search Complete, Complementary Index, CINAHL Plus with Full Text®, Psychology and Behavioural Sciences Collection, ScieELO, MEDLINE®, Directory of Open Access Journals, Supplemental Index, ScienceDirect, Education Source, Business Source Complete and MedicLatina. Inclusion/exclusion criteria: nurses who care for adult/elderly persons at the end of life, excluding nurses who care for children; articles about nurses’ intervention in nutrition care to the person at the end of life and the person’s evaluation criteria; full text; in French/Spanish/English/Portuguese; peer-reviewed; published between 2000-2017. A sample of 11 articles was selected. Results: The evaluation criteria to be considered when making decisions on artificial nutrition are: the evaluation of symptoms/problems; emotional value of food; the meaning of the diet for the person at the end of life and definition of prognosis [3,5-6]. In every decision-making, it should be considered the existence of a clinical indication/treatment, a therapeutic objective and the informed consent of a user or legal guardian. Conclusions: It is concluded that the decision on artificial nutrition should integrate the person at the end of life and family, be taken by an interdisciplinary team, considering the definition of the prognosis and the effectiveness of the treatment applied [3]. The intervention of the nurse is understood as a primordial one, based on the best evidence, in relation of proximity [5] considered, simultaneously, the principle of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice. There is little evidence of end-of-life nutrition and new studies on the role of nurses within the interdisciplinary team are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberP66
Pages (from-to)123-123
Number of pages1
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018
Event4th IPLeiria’s International Health Congress - Leiria, Portugal
Duration: 11 May 201812 May 2018


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