End of Life Nutrition Advice for Caregivers
As a family member, friend or caregiver, if it is hard for you to accept that your loved one no longer wants to eat, you are not alone. It might help to keep in mind that the person you care for is dying because of their illness, not because they do not feel like eating. Food and drink cannot undo what is happening. Listen to what they want. It is important that you do not force someone to eat or drink.
- Verbally saying no when asked if they want to eat or drink
- Holding food or liquids in the mouth
- Dribbling food out of the corners of the mouth
- Squeezing the mouth shut
- Respect the changes the body is signaling. Pressuring someone to eat or drink when they do not feel up to it will not make anyone feel better.
- Offer small bites of preferred foods. Cool, soft foods like applesauce or pudding are usually the most appealing.
- Offer sips of water or ice chips.
- Provide frequent mouth care.
- Moisturize the lips. Use water-based or lanolin-based lubricants or moisturizers rather than petroleum-based products due to concerns about infection and flammability.
- Talk to your care team about your concerns and ask any questions you have about artificial nutrition and hydration.