Parenteral Artificial Hydration in Palliative Care
Clay M. Anderson, MD FACP FAAHPM
Palliative artificial hydration (PAH) is one of many potential tools available in hospice and palliative care settings. The data are inconclusive regarding the benefits and burdens of PAH, but anecdotal experience suggests a significant benefit without overwhelming burdens. Many providers use PAH to target symptoms to improve patients' quality of life and help them engage in pleasurable activities, despite the divided opinions on its effectiveness. We discuss here the indications, potential burdens and benefits, and practical considerations for PAH. This discussion does not include the frequently combined concept of artificial nutrition.