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artificial nutrition, informed consent, life-limiting illness, palliative care, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy



  1. Coyne, Patrick J. MSN, APRN, ACHPN, FAAN, FPCN
  2. Lyckholm, Laurie J. MD


Artificial nutrition has become a standard of care in some institutions. It is considered a way to provide nutrition to cognitively impaired individuals, regardless of prognosis. More than 216,000 feeding tubes were placed in 2000, and in 30% of such cases, the patient was demented [Geriatrics. 2006;61(5):30-35]. In this article, we present a case example as we examine the background and reasons for this practice. We also offer a method by which to evaluate and determine the medical and ethical appropriateness of artificial nutrition in each situation.