1. Stinson, Cynthia Kellam MSN, RNC, CNS
  2. Godkin, Jennie MSN, RN
  3. Robinson, Ruthie RN, MSN


Nutritional support is an ethical/legal dilemma that healthcare providers must face when dealing with the elderly population of patients in critical care units. As nurses we have the responsibility to consider the issues concerning this topic. The debate concerning the issue of nutritional support, implications to terminate treatment, and fears concerning liability have shifted the decision-making process from the intensive care bedside to the courtroom. Hence, nurses must face this dilemma daily. This article utilizes a case study approach, explores legal issues, discusses ethical guidelines, and identifies techniques for conflict resolution.