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Reduced oral intake: patient, family, clinician communication
  1. Chloe Hui-Ling Choy
  1. Family Medicine Residency, National Healthcare Group, Singapore
  1. Correspondence to Dr Chloe Hui-Ling Choy, National Healthcare Group, Singapore 308433, Singapore; chloe.choy{at}

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Reduced oral intake is frequently encountered by palliative patients, and affects their physical and psychosocial well-being.1 While there are recommendations as to how to manage the symptom, often the contributing causes evolve, requiring various methods to be trialled and adapted, to varying results. The purpose of this article is to look at the available literature and identify areas that require improvement for the current management of reduced oral intake in palliative patients.


A total of 249 articles were found on Medline using search terms ‘oral intake palliative’ and narrowed to articles published between 2010 and 2020. Three articles were of particular interest as they specifically focused on the perspectives of the patient, their family and healthcare professionals, regarding the reduced oral intake of a patient.


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Table 1

Articles reviewed

The articles revealed the different experiences and interpretations of each group. Along with their different roles determined their attitude and response.


There was a variety of interpretations and attitudes to change in oral intake—with initial resistance to change, then later reactions ranging from regret to acceptance, even disinterest. They also faced different challenges and struggles relating to food intake, resulting in frustration and sometimes conflicts within …

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  • Contributors CH-LC is the sole author.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.