The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) published an updated statement on the use of feeding tubes in older adults with advanced dementia. The statement explains that feeding tubes should not be recommended for people with advanced dementia, who should instead be offered food by hand or by spoon. The full statement and recommendations can be found in the online version of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS). Below is a brief summary:
- Feeding tubes are not recommended for older adults with advanced dementia.
- People with advanced dementia should be hand or spoon fed in a quiet and calm environment.
- Healthcare providers and caregivers should understand and adhere to the person’s previously expressed wishes, including their advanced care planning decisions.
- Hospitals and nursing homes should promote choice and honor patient or resident preferences regarding tube feeding.
Before making a decision on the use of a feeding tube versus hand-feeding, make sure to read these three resources developed by the Health in Aging Foundation in collaboration with the AGS and Consumer Reports:
- Ask the Geriatrician: Tube Feeding, and Alternatives, for Older Adults With Advanced Dementia
- AGS Supports Evidence-Based, Patient-Centered Use of Feeding Tubes in Advanced Dementia
- Feeding Tubes for people with Alzheimer’s disease
For more information on the use of feeding tubes in older adults with advanced dementia please visit HealthinAging.org.