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Module 3: Analyzing Ethical Challenges in Pediatric
End-of-life Decision Making

ACTIVITY 4: SEMINAR
Using and Forgoing Medically Provided Nutrition and Hydration

Description

 Facilitators Guide Download PDF  PowerPoint Download PowerPoint

The purpose of this seminar is to explore the special issues that surround the withholding or withdrawal of medically provided nutrition and hydration in children with life-threatening illness or injury, and to establish the ethical permissibility of such decisions under certain circumstances. The special symbolic significance of nutrition and hydration in pediatrics is recognized and explored. Then participants discuss a challenging case, drawing on a conceptual framework introduced in Activity 3.2: Deciding When to Use or Forgo Life-Sustaining Treatments. The goal is to recognize that, ethically speaking, this form of life-sustaining therapy is essentially the same as any other, although it may be more psychologically difficult to decide to forgo it. Finally, participants brainstorm and discuss specific strategies to support parents and professionals when a decision is made to forgo medically provided nutrition and hydration in a dying child.

Learning Objectives

As a result of this seminar, participants will:

  • Recognize that medically provided nutrition and hydration are interventions that can be forgone under appropriate circumstances.
  • Acknowledge the special symbolic nature of nutrition and hydration, especially in pediatrics, which makes withdrawal of these interventions more difficult.
  • List practical strategies to support parents and professionals when a decision is made to forgo medically provided nutrition and hydration.

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[Go to Activity 2]
[Go to Activity 3]
[Go to Activity 5]