Nutrition and hydration strategies

There are some simple strategies that you can follow to ensure you meet the needs of the patient and those close to them. When the desire to eat and drink is diminished the 7 P’s will help you in your delivery of End of Life care in relation to nutrition and hydration. There are also useful acromnyms such as the FOOD & DRINK acronym which can help you in your practice.

Use the FOOD & DRINK acronym to help you in delivering care:
  • F first
  • O opportunity to…
  • O offer
  • D drink to patient & carer


  • D discuss & document the
  • R reduced need for food & fluid based on…
  • I individual assessment of
  • N needs on an ongoing basis
  • K keep gently checking understanding and communicating any changes to comply with the key priorities & the key principles of end of life care

And consider

  • C communication at every step
  • O organisation and co-ordination of care
  • M multi – agency working
  • F family /carers to be included
  • O oral hygiene
  • R recognising dying phase
  • T training appropriate to role
  • C care planning
  • A assessment of individual needs
  • R respect and dignity
  • E empathy – support realistic expectations of care and what to expect in preparing loved ones for the inevitable

Assessments and Observations


  • Make sure that people are eating
  • Ensure that people have the appropriate food and fluids
  • Regularly assess and monitor people for swallowing problems
  • Note any changes in patient’s appetite or condition that may effect their nutrition and hydration needs.


  • Record and monitor food and fluid intake where appropriate
  • Referral to the appropriate healthcare professional, where necessary for assessment, e.g. dietitian or speech and language therapist.

At the end of the module you will find a knowledge check where you can review everything you have learned in this section.