It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that individuals have the right to request or refuse nutrition and hydration as medical treatment. Registered dietitians should work collaboratively as part of an interprofessional team to make recommendations on providing, withdrawing, or withholding nutrition and hydration in individual cases and serve as active members of institutional ethics committees. This practice paper provides a proactive, integrated, systematic process to implement the Academy’s position. The position and practice papers should be used together to address the history and supporting information of ethical and legal issues of feeding and hydration identified by the Academy. Elements of collaborative ethical deliberation are provided for pediatrics and adults and in different conditions. The process of ethical deliberation is presented with the roles and responsibilities of the registered dietitian and the dietetic technician, registered. Understanding the importance and applying concepts dealing with cultural values and religious diversity is necessary to integrate clinical ethics into nutrition care. Incorporating screening for quality-of-life goals is essential before implementing the Nutrition Care Process and improving health literacy with individual interactions. Developing institution-specific policies and procedures is necessary to accelerate the practice change with artificial nutrition, clinical ethics, and quality improvement projects to determine best practice. This paper supports the “Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Ethical and Legal Issues of Feeding and Hydration” published in the June 2013 issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
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