a) How do doctors communicate and make decisions about assisted hydration at the end of life?
2019 – 2021
The topic of using assisted hydration for dying people has been the subject of controversy. Practice is variable in different settings and countries, contributed to by the limited evidence base for the impact of assisted hydration. The topic is often emotionally charged and matters to families and yet rates of important conversations about assisted hydration are low. This qualitative research study, born out of a previously published systematic review, investigates how doctors communicate and make decisions about this important topic, and theorises how improved practice may come about. Sixteen semi-structured interviews have been conducted (2019-20) with geriatricians and palliative medicine consultants. Analysis is underway; initial data suggest that communication and decision-making about assisted hydration is complex, ethically challenging, and difficult to teach.
The Academic Clinical Fellowship post is locally funded (Health Education East of England).
- Kingdon A, Spathis A, Brodrick R, Clarke G, Kuhn I, Barclay S. What is the impact of clinically assisted hydration in the last days of life? A systematic literature review and narrative synthesis. BMJ Support Palliat Care. 2020 Oct 12: bmjspcare-2020-002600.
- Ryan R, Spathis A, Bowers B, Petrova M, Hopkins S, Morgan T, Schichtel M, Swash B, Polak L, Kingdon A, Barclay S. Anticipatory prescribing in community end of life care in the UK: a mixed-methods study of healthcare professionals’ views concerning best practice and areas in need of improvement. BMJ Support Palliat Care. 10. A37.2-A37. 10.1136/spcare-2020-PCC.102.