Terminal Dehydration: A Review
Meares, Candace Jans
American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care. 1994 May-Jun; 11(3): 10-14.
Terminal dehydration is a naturally occurring condition which hospice nurses encounter daily. Although much has been written on this topic in recent years, a review of the literature will provide a summary of research and opinion which can form the basis for future research. This article covers the physiology, patient symptoms, and a discussion of the benefits of terminal dehydration. Ethical and legal issues have been clarified by the President's Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research. A comparison of nurse and physician perceptions concludes the article. In order for nurses to provide anticipatory guidance for family/caregivers of the imminently dying, more must be known about family/caregiver perceptions of terminal dehydration.