It is common for people who are nearing the end of their life to eat and drink less or stop eating completely. It does not mean they are suffering or will endure a painful death. They are dying from their illness, not from starvation. In fact, eating or drinking less in the last stages of life has been shown to provide comfort and relief to the body.
Try and understand your loved ones changing needs. If they have a terminal illness, eating and drinking more will not help them recover. Forcing someone to eat or drink is not only distressing for them, but can cause more harm and lead to side effects such as aspiration, bloating, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
Instead of focusing on food, spend more time comforting your loved one in other ways: like being there for them, talking and sharing memories together or bringing them to their favourite places.
Most dying people do not experience thirst or hunger as death approaches. Therefore, giving them food and fluids by artificial means (e.g., tube feeding/ IV fluids) will not won’t improve their function. In fact, it may make them feel more distressed and cause shortness of breath, swelling in the lungs, restlessness, nausea and vomiting.
Keep this in mind, the goal is to bond and provide comfort to your loved one. Speak to their Doctor or Nurse on how to manage their side effects and make them as comfortable as possible.
At Jaga-Me we believe in making healthcare accessible and available to everyone. We provide personalised and curated care for your loved ones. If you need a trained medical escort to accompany your loved ones for their medical appointments or a trained nurse to do nursing procedures in the comfort of your home, let Jaga-Me share your caregiving responsibility.