Key messages from Bazian Review

The key messages from the small and limited body of evidence are bullet pointed below. These are to determine what nursing or HCA care practises, related to nutrition and hydration in the last year of life, help the person who is dying to live as well as possible until death.

  • There is a huge need for nurses to communicate with and provide practical support for the person who is dying and their relatives in relation to nutrition and hydration at end of life.
  • It is important for nurses to recognise that the views of people who are dying and their relatives may differ in this area and discussing and addressing these views may be helpful.
  • There is increasing evidence that relatives can find the persons’ reduced oral intake distressing and welcome information and support from healthcare professionals to understand this part of the disease process, and to be relieved from their felt guilt and responsibility.
  • It may also be necessary for the nurse to support the person who is dying in balancing eating to please loved ones against the discomfort that this may cause.
  • Studies suggest that people who are dying and their relatives have unmet information needs about maximising quality of life relating to food and how to maintain or improve oral intake.
  • There is also evidence that people at end of life and their relatives would welcome information about the benefits and risks of clinically assisted hydration and nutrition, so they can be involved in these decisions.