Key principles to keep in mind.
What is "artificially-provided nutrition and hydration" (ANH)?
ANH is a general term referring to several medical procedures for providing nourishment and hydration to patients who are unable to take in food and fluids by mouth.
Is ANH always beneficial?
Tube feeding can provide life-saving benefits to patients recovering from injuries, diseases, and surgeries that make eating and drinking by mouth difficult or impossible. At he same time, tube feeding may or may not be desired by, or provide any net benefits to patients who are at or near the end of life, when the ability or the desire to take in food and fluids by mouth is often compromised.
Is forgoing ANH really an option?
Yes -- ANH is optional at the end of life. Medical guidelines, ethical principals, and legal mandates all support the right of patients to forgo nutrition and hydration at the end of life if they can not or chose not to take in food and fluids either by mouth, or via a feeding tube.