Many patients come to the hospital with poor oral intake and weight loss. Clinicians, patients, and families should think carefully about the benefits, risks, and burdens of PEG tube use before initiating placement. The goals should be in concert with patients’ previously expressed wishes and values.
Deciding against PEG tube placement and focusing on comfort and palliative care can always play a role in the care of acutely and chronically ill older adults. PEG tube placement remains an ethically complex, emotionally charged, and difficult area for the managing physician, the patient, and the family. Further research is required in this area to assist these individuals in making the most appropriate decision. TH
Dr. Amador works in the Division of Geriatrics University of Texas Medical Center. His work is supported by the Geriatric Academic Career Award 1 K01 HP 00056-01 by the Bureau of Health Professions.
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