Enteral (tube) feeding for people living with severe dementia (patient decision aid)

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence - NICE
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE);OptionGrid
Publication date:
20 June 2018


Information to help people living with dementia, their family members and carers and their healthcare professionals discuss the options. People living with severe dementia often develop problems with eating and drinking. They may have swallowing problems. If this happens food or saliva may go down their windpipe and cause an infection in their lungs (aspiration pneumonia). This can be serious or even fatal. They may also have a reduced appetite, and in their final weeks or days they may stop eating or drinking altogether.

Enteral (tube) feeding usually involves either passing a tube through a person’s nose and down into their stomach (a nasogastric or ‘NG’ tube), or making a cut in the person’s abdomen and passing a tube into their stomach that way (a PEG tube). Liquid food can be put directly into the person’s stomach through the tube.