Intravenous news: OncologyNursingNews.com report “Whether to hydrate terminally ill patients has been debated for decades and there are wide variations in practice. The decision to give or withhold fluids has depended largely on the attitudes and beliefs of the medical providers or the care setting. But other factors should also enter into these deliberations. This perspective emerged during a symposium discussing hydration at the end of life conducted at the Annual Meeting of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC), held July 25-27 in Rome. Sebastiano Mercadante, MD, of La Maddalena Cancer Center, Palermo, Italy, and Eduardo Bruera, MD, the F.T. McGraw Chair in the Treatment of Cancer and medical director of the Supportive Care Center at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, deliberated the pros and cons, respectively, of end-of-life hydration, but the two also found much common ground during the session.
In the matter of hydration at the end of life, both of the speakers generally agreed that communication between patients, relatives, and care providers is low, but patients or relatives must receive information on all available options. In addition, the benefits and toxicities of hydration (and dehydration) must be carefully evaluated for each individual patient.”
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