Think Twice Before Inserting That Feeding Tube

By Shawn Kennedy, AJN interim editor-in-chief

One of the news stories in the May issue of AJN describes the “down the road” implications for a common practice—the use of feeding tubes in patients with end-stage dementia. Feeding tubes are often placed in these patients in the acute care setting and remain as the patient moves to a nursing home for continued care.

“Feeding Tubes Used Too Often in End-Stage Dementia” discusses a study recently published in JAMA that sought to examine this practice and identify what factors are associated with its continued use “despite a body of literature showing that they aren’t effective in improving clinical outcomes or survival.”

This is an important read as it reminds us to question why we do what we do, how it will improve or enhance outcomes, and what are the implications of intervening versus not intervening? Do we “follow the protocol” because it’s convenient, or do we look ahead at implications for patients and families?

So how does your hospital stack up?

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Senior editor/social media strategy, American Journal of Nursing, and editor of AJN Off the Charts.

Comments are moderated before approval, but always welcome.

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