Chapter

Feeding in palliative care

Angela Thompson, Anita MacDonald and Chris Holden

in Oxford Textbook of Palliative Care for Children

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199595105
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199665020 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199595105.003.0025

Series: Oxford Textbooks In Palliative Medicine

Feeding in palliative care

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Children with palliative care needs present changing challenges in nutritional care as their disease progresses. Regular nutritional assessment, taking into account the psychosocial needs of the family, the child’s underlying condition, the stage of disease progression, and treatment and associated complications, as well as the child’s anticipated energy and nutritional requirements, should be undertaken. Where available, a nutritional care team, in conjunction with the child’s specialist team, the family, the child (where appropriate), and the primary care and local palliative care teams, will be involved at various stages. The central aim is to support a good quality of life during the child’s palliative care stages, and therefore the balance of benefit and burden of any planned intervention should be carefully assessed for each child and family in the context of their unique situation. Addressing feeding issues in palliative care thus begins at an early stage, and extends from diagnosis through disease progression to the terminal care stages. It gives the family some measure of control within their child’s devastating situation. The consequent building of trust that the child’s nutritional needs are being managed appropriately, thus giving the child the best chance of a good quality of life, can do much to improve the ability of the child and their family to manage the trauma of the palliative care situation. It should be a high priority to offer the family practical solutions, which are determined by whether the goal is aggressive support or comfort and enjoyment of life. This conveys a tangible message to the child and the family — which underpins the approach to their care — that their individual and unique life, and its quality, are valued and respected. It provides hope, and demonstrates that all those involved in their care are working together, despite the many and changing challenges, to enable the child and their family to have the best quality of life possible within their circumstances, acknowledging that the child is recognized and respected as ‘having a lot of living to do.’

Chapter.  10449 words. 

Subjects: Paediatrics ; Palliative Medicine

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