Families 'need more info on feeding tubes'

Posted on 06 May 2011

The families of people with dementia, who may be paying for care, should have more information on feeding tubes before being asked to make a decision on the matter, a study has indicated.

Scientists at Brown University revealed that 13.7 per cent of those surveyed said a family member received a feeding tube without it being discussed with the family first. Moreover, 11.2 per cent said they felt pressured into agreeing to a feeding tube.

In addition 39.3 per cent of respondents claimed there had been no discussion of the risks of feeding tubes, while 41.6 per cent said the discussion on the matter lasted less than 15 minutes.

Joan Teno, lead author of the study published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, said: "Our results suggest that in these states with a high rate of feeding tube insertion we need to improve decision making so that the decision to insert a feeding tube is based on a process that elicits and respects patient’s wishes."

In other news, lithium could be used to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Lithium supplements were found to slow the development of mild cognitive impairment - a condition often leading to Alzheimer's.

Posted by Nigel Murphy

 

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