Nursing care of patients at the end of life who are unable to drink

Annie Pettifer

  • Abstract

    The management of the hydration of dying patients and the subsequent distress of their relatives can be challenging for nurses. This article will analyse a fictitious case scenario in which a student nurse considers how best to care for a dying patient's hydration needs. It will consider best practice surrounding hydration at the end of life, drawing on relevant research and professional guidance with the aim of equipping nurses with knowledge to manage hydration needs at the end of life confidently. It will explore specifically the aim of end-of-life care in relation to hydration, the care of dying patients' hydration needs, the risks and benefits of clinically assisted hydration at the end of life and communicating with relatives about hydration at the end of life.

  • Contributors

    Annie Pettifer


    Correct at article publish date

    Adult Nursing, Coventry University, Coventry, UK

    Author notes

    Correspondence to

    Original publishing information

    • Publisher: St Christopher's Hospice
    • Publish date: 01/03/2015
    • ePub Date: 11/03/2015
    • Volume: 5
    • Issue: 1

    Permissions: Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to

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