Feeding tubes not shown to help dementia patients | Lewy Body Dementia Association LBDA

Feeding tubes not shown to help dementia patients

Tube feeding provides no benefit to persons with advanced dementia and may actually lower the quality of life, according to a recent comprehensive review of the literature. The practice may not supply patients with a substantive amount of nutrition, and may cause pain and discomfort, say the researchers. More details of the Cochrane Database review is found here.

At issue is artificially feeding individuals with a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube, or feeding PEG, a practice introduced in the early 1980s. First used for seriously ill children, PEGs soon became widely used as a cost-saving measure in nursing homes, which lacked sufficient staff to do assisted oral feedings. The researchers looked for scientific evidence of their benefits -- and drawbacks -- and concluded PEGs are not necessarily a humane choice for assisted feeding.