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Care of the older person
There is no evidence to suggest that ET feeding improves survival in people with severe dementia
  1. Karen Harrison-Dening
  1. Research and Publications, Dementia UK, London EC3N 1RE, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Karen Harrison-Dening, Research and Publications, Dementia UK, London EC3N 1RE, UK; Karen.Harrison-Dening{at}

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Commentary on: Davies N, Barrado-Martín Y, Vickerstaff V, et al. Enteral tube feeding for people with severe dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2021;8:CD013503.

Implications for practice and research

  • Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) feeding does not prolong the life of a person with severe dementia and leads to an increased risk of developing pressure sores.

  • There is no evidence that enteral feeding improves the quality of life of a person with severe dementia, although research into quality of life in this population is challenging.


There are an estimated 890 000 people with dementia (PWD) in the UK.1 Dementia is now the leading cause of death in England and Wales.2 Identifying when PWD are reaching the end of life is challenging.

People with severe dementia suffer from a range of symptoms, with pressure sores, agitation and eating problems common as the end of life approaches.3 There is increasing clinical and …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.