When caring for a patient with anorexia, how do we nurses decide when to follow the Dr's orders and administer tube feedings, or follow patient's wishes to let them decided to eat or not?
Feb 1, '13
by Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, RN Senior Moderator
Psychiatric patients--even involuntary ones--retain the right to refuse treatment...and yes, this would include tube feedings for the anorexic patient. The only way that right to refuse can be overturned and treatment forced on a patient is by a court-order or if the patient is a danger to themselves or others...but that danger refers to a patient who is about to physically harm themselves/someone else, and not someone refusing to eat.
However...if you have an anorexic patient who is NOT court-ordered to receive treatment but is still refusing to eat or have feedings, then you need to notify the MD of their refusal. The refusal to participate in their treatment needs to be addressed with the patient. Otherwise, why is the patient in the hospital if they don't want treatment?
Last edit by Meriwhen on Feb 1, '13