Nutrition and Hydration in Palliative Care

1h 15m of CPD
Margaret O'Connor AM
18 Jul 2016

This Course uses a holistic framework to explore the reasons why appropriate nutrition and hydration in palliative care is important. The broad nutritional needs of the person approaching end of life are addressed, and practical suggestions for how health professionals can accurately assess and manage these needs are provided.


State the major tenet of palliative care and how this relates to nutrition and hydration


Describe the assessment of a person for nutrition and hydration requirements, clearly differentiating between malnutrition and dehydration, and hunger and thirst


Describe practical ways to ensure appropriate and timely nutrition and hydration are administered to a person at the end of life


Margaret O'Connor AM

Professor Margaret O’Connor is the inaugural Professor of Nursing at Swinburne University in Melbourne. Prior to this she was the Vivian Bullwinkel Chair in Palliative Care Nursing at Monash University, where she established and led a successful Palliative Care Research Team. Margaret’s research has been widely published, concentrating on models of palliative care , issues of culture and the end of life needs of particular population groups. From 2006 to 2011 Margaret served as the President of Palliative Care Australia and in 2005 she was made a member of the Order of Australia for her significant contribution to the establishment and development of palliative care services in Victoria. She also sits on several committees and Boards.


Marjo Dawson06 Oct 2018

Esther Zoe Nunn05 Sep 2018
Thankyou for this very important information

Avelina Go Chow04 Jun 2018
Excellent resources

Elizabeth Burton04 Jun 2018
Interesting and relevant to professionals working in palliative care. Easily applicable to work practises.

Robyn Poga29 May 2018

Gillian Carne28 May 2018
Thoughtful and relevant

Lynne Richardson-Cooper27 May 2018
Excellent Really enjoyed this learning

Amrita Banstola26 May 2018

yan zhang25 May 2018

Robert Martin24 May 2018
I would recommend this education to other health professionals

Samantha Garritt24 May 2018
Thats great.

Limor Weingarten23 May 2018
Learnt a few new facts and practical advice.

Abbygail vikki-may nicholls23 May 2018
Great amount of information

Annette richards17 May 2018
Great refresher. Educational and informative.

XIAO YANG01 May 2018
good resources

Cristobal Ace Campillo06 Apr 2018
Very informative.

Carmel Spano28 Mar 2018
Very good presentation that reflects on the basics and what is important

anna chakaipa21 Mar 2018
Presentation was informative

Joanne Gabbert19 Mar 2018
I found the presentation very informative. The presente was engaging.

Mustapha Nshimiyimana09 Mar 2018
very informative

Eva Bodnar19 Feb 2018
Very important information abot dying person nutritional and fluid intake

Jill Raduziner06 Feb 2018
Although I live in the United States and am not a nurse, the course gave me some valid insight into a holistic approach to End of Life nutrition for my studies in Clinical Nutrition.

Adam Banks05 Feb 2018
good information provided in a relevent way however the clipping in audio was distracting

Susan Rosewarne28 Jan 2018
Great for reinforcing my knowledge delivering Palliative Care.

Susan Rosewarne28 Jan 2018
Well presented very informative

Steven Walker25 Jan 2018
Well instructed and informative

Ann Trebilcock22 Jan 2018
A very informative and engaging resource.

Cath Rodwell04 Jan 2018
Interesting as so many people now receive palliative care in the home, with carers not knowing how to manage this issue.

Norest Mashonganyika23 Dec 2017
Well presented.

Course Overview

Topics include:

  • The role of nutrition in palliative care
  • Hydration and nutritional assessment
  • Ethical dilemmas in palliative care
  • Signs and symptoms of imminent death

Target audience

All healthcare professionals, especially those working in the following settings:

  • Palliative care
  • Aged care
  • Community care; and
  • Acute care.


Reiterate the nutritional and hydration needs of people receiving palliative care, with awareness that the major tenet of palliative care is the comfort of the individual. Further, this VLA will clarify the role of the healthcare professional in relation to the provision of nutrition and hydration as the person nears death.


A person requiring palliative care often presents with fragility and general weakness. During assessment, they may describe difficulties with their appetite, diet, and fluid intake. Readily observable changes in their appearance might also be evident. In order to address the tenet of comfort for the individual, and to subsequently meet the individual’s daily comfort needs, it is critical that healthcare professionals accurately assess and manage these changes. Decisions in relation to the nutritional and hydration needs of a person can then be made together with the person approaching end of life, their caregiver and other members of the interdisciplinary healthcare team.

Health professionals in Australia that are registered with AHPRA are required to obtain continuing professional development (CPD) hours/points each year that relates to their context of practice, in order to comply with mandatory regulatory requirements.

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