Nutrition and Aging Enteral Feeding in End-Stage Dementia: A Comparison of Religious, Ethnic, and National Differences in Canada and Israel


Background. Although enteral feeding in end-stage dementia is thought by many clinicians to be ‘‘futile,’ ’ it is still widely used. We examined rates of tube feeding (gastrostomy or nasogastric) in end-stage dementia in hospitals in both Canada and Israel, and hypothesized that Canadian non-Jewish affiliated hospitals would have the lowest (and Israeli institutions the highest), with Canadian Jewish hospitals exhibiting intermediate rates. Methods. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of six geriatric long-term hospitals: two in Israel and four in Canada (two Jewish affiliated, two not; two in Ontario, two in Quebec province). Patients with end-stage dementia were assessed and further analyzed for type of feeding. Results. In the six hospitals, 2287 long-term beds were surveyed, of which 1358 (59.4%) were used by demented patients of whom 376 (27.7%) were severely demented (Global Deterioration Scale-level 7). Of these, 24.5 % (92) were fed by nasogastric tube or gastrostomy tube. Significant differences in tube-feeding prevalence were found be-tween Canada (11%) and Israel (52.9%), with only 4.7 % seen in non-Jewish Canadian institutions. Jewish affiliated hospitals in Canada exhibited an intermediate rate of 19.6%. However, for within-country dyads, wide differences were also found. When we examined patient religion, we found that Canadian non-Jewish patients had the lowest rates (3.2%), Israeli Jewish patients the highest (51.7%), and Canadian Jewish patients exhibited an intermediate rate (19.0%) of tube use

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