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עמוד בית
Thu, 13.06.24

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September 2023
Doron Merims MD, Tania Boguslavsky MD

Only two approaches are currently accepted for patients with advanced dementia who are unable to eat independently or refuse to eat. One is feeding by either nasogastric tube (NGT) or percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG). The other is to avoid artificially feeding the patient to spare the prolonged suffering associated with these procedures. The second approach is generally reserved for patients with terminal malignant diseases and is less common in patients with advanced dementia, especially when their life expectancy is unknown. PEG and NGT nutrition can lead to complications such as the likelihood of patients pulling out feeding tubes due to cognitive impairment. Various studies have shown that this feeding approach can be distressing to patients and does not extend life expectancy compared to spoon-feeding [1,2].

June 2018
Tamar Shalom PhD and Avichai Shuv-Ami PhD

Background: The treatment of advanced dementia patients is very complex and presents a difficult dilemma for physicians, and especially for the patient's family. In many cases, when the advanced dementia patient has no decisional capacity, the family needs to decide about force-feeding and resuscitation for their relative.

Objectives: To examine public opinion regarding force-feeding and resuscitation of patients with advanced dementia.

Methods: Data from 1002 people who accompanied a patient to a hospital emergency department in Israel were collected and analyzed.

Results: We noted the following results: the more religious the orientation of the respondents, the more likely they were to agree to forcefully feed and resuscitate advanced dementia patients and advanced dementia patients older than 80 years; those accompanying younger patients were more likely to think that the medical staff should resuscitate advanced dementia patients and advanced dementia patients older than 80 years compared to those accompanying elderly patients; younger people were more likely than older people to agree to force-feed and resuscitate patients.

Conclusions: This paper attempts to provide decision-makers and medical staff with some knowledge about public opinion regarding a sensitive and complex issue. This awareness may guide physicians in making critical medical decisions about those with dementia.

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