Nutrition and Hydration in Palliative Care
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.
StateState the major tenet of palliative care and how this relates to nutrition and hydration
DescribeDescribe the assessment of a person for nutrition and hydration requirements, clearly differentiating between malnutrition and dehydration, and hunger and thirst
DescribeDescribe 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.
- The role of nutrition in palliative care
- Hydration and nutritional assessment
- Ethical dilemmas in palliative care
- Signs and symptoms of imminent death
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.