Does TPN prolong life? - page 2

Had a situation that I've heard about - I was not involved in it and only know hearsay. A patient was prescribed TPN. A nurse went and spoke with the family, including the patient's power of... Read More

  1. by   Katillac
    Quote from Nursing1Student
    Had a situation that I've heard about - I was not involved in it and only know hearsay. A patient was prescribed TPN. A nurse went and spoke with the family, including the patient's power of attorney before the TPN was started and before the doctors involved had a chance to explain thier reasoning. The patient was NPO. The patient was non-responsive. The nurse opposed TPN, feeling the patient was dying and this would prolong suffering. The TPN was ordered on Saturday, the patient passed several days later. The family, based on the nurse's explanation declined the TPN. My question is, was the patient starved? Resource articles would be appreciated. Thanks.
    I'm afraid I have no peer-reviewed medical research to offer, only my experience as a hospice nurse. However the answer to your question is that it is unlikely that the patient starved. I have seen people who made the decision not to eat who were with us for months after they stopped eating.

    Perhaps the unspoken question is whether this nurse's actions were appropriate, and given what you have provided for background, it's all but impossible to say. I know that you don't have any more information, but we would want to know what caused the nurse to determine that the patient was dying and what the suffering was that she felt he would experience and whether there was a means to address it. If she felt she needed to advocate for him, perhaps the better course would have been to alleviate his suffering. We would want to know whether there were advance directives that covered this circumstance and the MDs reasoning for starting the TPN. Just too many things we don't know.

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