Nutrition and Hydration at End of Life Handout

End of life is hard, but you CAN feel more confident in supporting a dying patient and their families/caregivers. The Nutrition and Hydration at End of Life handout is a tool to help you guide your patients and their families through what is likely the hardest journey of their life.

Do you feel uncomfortable with this topic?

As a dietitian encountering patients at end of life, you likely:

  • received no education in this area
  • may feel ill-equipped in how to approach this topic
  • may feel uncomfortable having these difficult conversations.

But the reality is, if you work with humans, at some point you will be working with a patient nearing end of life. And you need to be ready.

This resource can help!

This simple, reproducible, one-page handout covers:

  • Eating and Drinking
  • Hunger and Thirst
  • Some Things to Remember
  • Responsibilities (of caregiver & patient)

This handout addresses emotions associated with end of life and provides easy to understand instructions for the caregiver and patient, so they can rest easy in knowing that they are doing enough.

When could this handout help you?

There are many situations where conversation on nutrition at end of life can occur. For example:

  • A daughter whose father is on hospice is no longer eating; tearfully she asks you how she can make her dad eat more.
  • A spouse asks you if a feeding tube should be initiated for her terminal husband who is no longer eating. She believes if he only he has more food, he will live longer.
  • A dying patient complains that he is no longer hungry and feels sick from forcing himself to eat. He says his family worries so much and eats to make them happy.

When situations like these arise, ask permission to share what nutrition at end of life may look like. Emphasize that no one knows exactly when end of life will occur, but it helps to be prepared. Then use this handout to facilitate your conversation with compassion and kindness.

Lean into conversations on end of life

Leaning in to difficult conversations can help your patients improve their quality of life at a time when life left is short. You may be tempted to shy away from this topic- but please don’t! This handout will make it easy for you.

Check out the corresponding video or purchase the BUNDLE!

Be sure to check out my Nutrition and Hydration at End of Life video. In just 31 minutes you will become ready to have difficult end of life conversations. This is the perfect companion to the Nutrition and Hydration at End of Life handout.

Do you want to purchase both? Save some money and buy the Nutrition and Hydration at End of Life bundle!

Be sure to check out my FREE resource!

And finally, be sure to check out my free resource, Recommend Resources for End of Life Care, to further your knowledge and confidence in this topic dietitians need to learn more about!

Thank you for your support.


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  • Recommended Resources for End of Life Care

    Many resources available to aid a most difficult situation. Will refer to this handout time and again.

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