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February 15, 2010

Feeding Tubes Overused in Dementia Patients, Says Study

Feeding tubes do not extend survival for people with advanced dementia who can no longer swallow, a new report has found. Dementia patients who are bothered by the tube and try to remove it may be physically restrained or placed on heavily sedating drugs, according to the study by Brown

By cms admin

Feeding tubes do not extend survival for people with advanced dementia who can no longer swallow, a new report has found.

Dementia patients who are bothered by the tube and try to remove it may be physically restrained or placed on heavily sedating drugs, according to the study by Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Family members of these patients often decide that they want to have feeding tubes inserted once a patient can no longer feed themselves, study said.

The study was based on 2000–2007 records for nearly 2,800 hospital, of which 12% of hospitals did not insert a feeding tube in a single patient with advanced dementia throughout the eight-year study period.

At a quarter of the hospitals, however, patients had a one in ten chance of feeding tube insertion and hospitals with the highest rate of feeding tube use inserted them nearly 40% of the time.

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