Another study just published in JAMDA has confirmed that among patients with advanced dementia, nasogastric feeding tubes do not result in increased survival when compared to patients being fed by careful handfeeding. Most importantly, in this study of more than 700 patients admitted to two geriatric convalescent units, among patients that were fed with the help of feeding tubes, the risk of pneumonia was 1.4 times higher than others.
This study provides us with another reason to be very cautious and thoughtful, when considering feeding options for patients with advance dementia. More often than not, nasogastric feeding or other kind of long-term feeding tube arrangements may result in harm (pneumonia, poor quality of life etc.) than benefit.