Glossary of Terms

Here is a list of definitions to some of the terms used within this resource.

Term Description
End of Life Patients are ‘approaching the end of life’ when they are likely to die within the next 12 months
Palliative Care Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing caring for a family member or loved one associated with life threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.
Nutrition The process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth
Hydration The process of providing an adequate amount of liquid to bodily tissues
Clinically assisted nutrition Includes intravenous feeding, feeding by naso-gastric and by percutaneous endoscopic and radiologically inserted gastrostomy (RIG) feeding tubes through the abdominal wall
Clinically assisted hydration Intravenous or sub-cutaneous fluids through a “drip” (both of these terms do not apply to providing assistance with eating and drinking)
Best Interests “May be interpreted as meaning that a patient should not be subjected to more treatment than is necessary to allow them to die peacefully and with dignity (GMC End of life care: Legal Annex)
Cachexia Involuntary weight loss (more than 5% of baseline) with a bigger loss of muscle than fat.
Last few days of life When death is expected within the next few days or hours

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