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Last Updated on September 10, 2021 by Frank Davis
We associate food and liquids with life and love in our families, and eating can give us a feeling of warmth, euphoria, and comfort. As a result, we may become concerned when we see that the eating and drinking habits of an individual we love have changed. In the midst of watching our loved one starve or be dehydrated, we don’t realize that this in itself is a common part of dying.
Hospice patients may request a certain type of food or a specific time for their meal service. We must accommodate their request as much as possible. It is our responsibility as family members or caregivers to ensure the comfort of our loved ones to the best of our ability.
Throughout the article, we will discuss what a hospice patient can eat and drink, as well as how to prioritize their decisions.
What Can a Hospice Patient Eat or Drink
In cases where a physician has special instructions regarding what a hospice patient may eat or cannot consume due to swallowing or aspiration problems, we must follow the doctor’s recommendation. However, the patient has the right to eat whatever they like and whenever they like as long as they do not receive specific instructions from the doctor.
In order to avoid overeating or excessive drinking when a patient is dying, keeping their natural feelings of hunger in mind is important. If you are planning on giving food to a hospice patient, do not force them to eat food; rather, let them ask for it. As the one who knows their own body best, the patient will be the best person to counsel us when it comes to knowing when he should drink or eat.
Prioritizing the Patients Decision
Another important thing to keep in mind is that a patient’s request for a particular type of food should always be given priority over requests placed by family members. The reason behind this is that it can avoid the stress from food arguments that may arise when one tries to give the hospice patient food that he or she may not want.
For example, if the patient asks for a piece of pie, but family members want to give the patient a healthier alternative like a salad. It should be the patient’s decision that is prioritized as it may be a few things that they can enjoy at the time. In addition, lets say something were to happen to the patient you do not want to be that person that just denied the patient’s last meal.
Considering that we do not know what they’re feeling or experiencing, it is only right that we allow them at least to enjoy the food and drinks they chose. The advanced stage of the disease at this time is what will ultimately cause death of the patient, not the consumption of certain types of food.
During a patient’s stay in a hospice, they are allowed to eat whatever they want whenever they want. Generally, the same foods, juices, and liquids are given to the patient that he/she is used to. In the event a patient asks for a particular kind of food we should do our best to accommodate their request as it may be one of the few moments they will be able to enjoy.
We’d love to hear any comments you have about this. Simply leave a comment below if you have any. We encourage you to contact Hospice Valley of Los Angeles at (818) 433-0068 if you have any questions.
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