Background: Decreasing oral intake is common towards the end of life and a potential source of distress and concern for patients, relatives, whanau and clinicians. This paper provides insight to inform practice regarding clinicians' perceptions, practices, responses and communication with patients and their companions regarding declining oral intake towards the end of life.
Methods: In this qualitative study ten specialist palliative care staff participated in semi-structured interviews. Qualitative thematic analysis was used to analyse the data.
Findings: Three themes were identified: declining oral intake was a natural part of the dying process; responding empathetically; and clinicians described specific aims and ways regarding communication.
Conclusion: Insight into clinicians' endeavours to manage declining oral intake and support the wellbeing of patients, families, and whanau can inform practice. However the perspectives of family, whanau and health professionals continue to show significant variation regarding the communication given and received around declining oral intake towards the end of life.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Communication, Community nursing, Food and fluids, Interdisciplinary working
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.12968/ijpn.2017.23.2.74, hdl.handle.net/1765/98893
Journal International Journal of Palliative Nursing
Rights No subscription
Citation
Clark, J.B, Raijmakers, N.J.H, Allan, S.G, van Zuylen, L, & van der Heide, A. (2017). Declining oral intake towards the end of life: How to talk about it?. International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 23(2), 74–82. doi:10.12968/ijpn.2017.23.2.74