IV fluids and tube feedings can be used when you are no longer able to eat or drink by mouth. IV fluids are given through a needle placed in a vein. Liquid food can be given through a tube that goes down your nose into your stomach. Or it may be given through a tube that is surgically placed in your belly.
You get to decide if you want to have IV fluids or tube feedings if you can no longer eat or drink on your own. It will not cure your illness, and it can be uncomfortable.
Without IV fluids and tube feedings, your body will slow down naturally. Most likely, you will not feel hungry. And your doctor will take steps to keep you comfortable until you die.
The decision about whether to have IV fluids and tube feedings is a personal one. You may decide that you would want one but not the other. Be sure to talk it over with your doctor and loved ones.
Be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: June 10, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Robin L. Fainsinger, MB, ChB, LMCC, CCFP - Palliative Medicine & Jean S. Kutner, MD, MSPH - Geriatric Medicine, Palliative Medicine
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