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Jul 29, 2022

We’re talking about comfort feedings today, how they work and the benefits they hold for hospice patients and their caregivers.  Comfort feeding, (also pleasure feeding, is the practice of feeding the patient only what the patient likes and wants.  It might not be considered particularly healthy.  It’s more about enhancing quality of life for the patient.  The focus of food intake is on comfort rather than good nutrition.  The choices about food and drink are driven by the patient’s ability to swallow, of course.  If a patient’s ability to swallow is impaired, he might just take the food or liquid into his mouth and then spit them out.  The best guidance about comfort feedings is this:  don’t eat or drink anything that’s going to make symptoms worse.  Shortness of breath, blood sugar fluctuation and fluid retention (edema) can all be made worse by certain foods.  Quality of life depends on managing those symptoms to the patient’s comfort level.  Because managing those symptoms is often the job of the caregiver, how comfort feedings are handled affects the caregiver, too.  So finding a good balance in comfort feedings is important.  The patient, caregiver, and the hospice team can help make that happen.

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