Italian position paper on artificial nutrition and hydration

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“The intent of this position paper was to supply a framework of clinical practices, ethical principles, and professional guidelines that will impart information and can assist decision making regarding AN and hydration” Fatati (2015).

Reference:

Fatati, G. (2015) Artificial nutrition: technical, scientific and ethical considerations. Recenti Progressi in Medicina. 106(2), p.81-4. [Article in Italian].

Abstract:

Artificial nutrition (AN) is a relatively new medical treatment which started in the 1960 with parenteral nutrition (PN) and over the last 20 years has come to include enteral nutrition (EN) in hospitals and homes. Enormous clinical progress and continual evolution in techniques aimed at rendering organ funtion substitution more complete and efficient have come to the point where AN can only be suitably performed (indications for therapy, treatment regimen and monitoring) in specialized institutions. However, there has been much discussion about whether artificial nutrition should be considered a medical intervention or an essential intervention of care: in 2004 the Terri Schiavo case became worldwide news and the suspension of AN was decided by the law courts. In Italy, on 5 September 2014, the Council of State gave its opinion on case of Eluana Englaro. In 2007 the Italian Association for Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition (ADI) and the Professional Board of Physicians of the Province of Terni, have shared a paper that takes into account the scientific, technical and ethical considerations of AN in the light of the relative codes. The intent of this position paper was to supply a framework of clinical practices, ethical principles, and professional guidelines that will impart information and can assist decision making regarding AN and hydration. The document is still relevant today.

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