American Geriatrics Society

View all recommendations from this society

Released February 21, 2013

Don’t recommend percutaneous feeding tubes in patients with advanced dementia; instead offer oral assisted feeding.

Careful hand-feeding for patients with severe dementia is at least as good as tube-feeding for the outcomes of death, aspiration pneumonia, functional status and patient comfort. Food is the preferred nutrient. Tube-feeding is associated with agitation, increased use of physical and chemical restraints and worsening pressure ulcers.


These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

1-5: The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) established a work group chaired by the Vice Chair of Clinical Practice and Models of Care Committee (CPMC). Work group members were drawn from that committee, as well as the Ethics, Ethnogeriatrics and Quality and Performance Measurement (QPMC) committees. AGS members were invited to submit feedback and recommendations as to what they thought should be included in the list via an electronic survey. The workgroup first narrowed the list down to the top 10 potential tests or procedures. The workgroup then reviewed the evidence and sought expert advice to further refine the list to five recommendations, which were then reviewed and approved by the AGS Executive Committee and the Chairs/Vice Chairs of CPMC, Ethics and QPMC.

6-10: The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) used the same work group from its first list to develop its second list. The group was chaired by the Chair of Clinical Practice and Models of Care Committee (CPMC). Work group members were drawn from that committee, as well as the Ethics, Ethnogeriatrics and Quality and Performance Measurement (QPMC) committees. AGS members were invited to submit feedback and recommendations as to what they thought should be included in a Choosing Wisely® list via an electronic survey. The workgroup then narrowed the list down and reviewed the evidence, seeking expert advice to further refine the list to five recommendations, which were then reviewed and approved by the AGS Executive Committee and the Chairs/Vice Chairs of CPMC, Ethics and QPMC.

On April 23, 2015, AGS revised items 2,3,6,7,8 and 10. Read more about these changes and rationale.

Sources

Finucane TE, Christmas C, Travis K. Tube feeding in patients with advanced dementia: A review of the evidence. JAMA. 1999;282(14):1365-1370.

Gabriel SE, Normand ST. Getting the methods right – The foundation of patient-centered outcomes research. N Engl J Med [Internet]. 2012 Aug 30;367(9):787-90.

Teno JM, Feng Z, Mitchell SL, Kuo S, Intrator O, Mor V. Do financial incentives of introducing case mix reimbursement increase feeding tube use in nursing home residents? J Am Geriatr Soc. [Internet]. 2008 May;56(5):887–890.

Teno JM, Mitchell SL, Kuo SK, Gozalo PL, Rhodes RL, Lima JC, Mor V. Decision-making and outcomes of feeding tube insertion: A five-state study. J Am Geriatr Soc.[Internet]. 2011 May;59(5):881–886.

Palecek EJ, Teno JM, Casarett DJ, Hanson LC, Rhodes RL, Mitchell SL. Comfort feeding only: A proposal to bring clarity to decision-making regarding difficulty with eating for persons with advanced dementia. J Am Geriatr Soc. [Internet]. 2010 Mar;58(3):580–584.

Hanson LC, Carey TS, Caprio AJ, Lee TJ, Ersek M, Garrett J, Jackman A, Gilliam R, Wessell K, Mitchell SL. Improving decision-making for feeding options in advanced dementia: A randomized, controlled trial. J Am Geriatr Soc. [Internet]. 2011 Nov;59(11):2009–2016.