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Requested withdrawal of gastrostomy feeding in motor neurone disease
  1. Donna Wakefield and
  2. Sarah Rhiannon Hanson
  1. Marie Curie Hospice Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Donna Wakefield, Marie Curie Hospice, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 6SS, UK; donna.wakefield1{at}


NICE (National Institute for Health & Care Excellence) guidance recommends that healthcare professionals with expertise in palliative care should be an integral part of the multidisciplinary team in managing patients with motor neuron disease (MND). Those in the poorest prognostic group may benefit from early referral to help manage rapidly progressive symptoms, psychological distress and offer additional support with complex decision-making and early robust advance care planning. Patients frequently develop dysphagia and gastrostomy feeding can be used to prolong survival and improve quality of life. As the disease progresses patients may request withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment such as gastrostomy feeding; however, a literature search found no evidence or guidance on how best to facilitate this. We present the case of a patient with MND admitted to the hospice inpatient unit requesting withdrawal of gastrostomy feeding, outline the challenges and need for further consensus guidelines to inform practice.

  • clinical decisions
  • neurological conditions
  • hospice care
  • quality of life
  • supportive care

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  • Contributors SRH and DW contributed to the literature search, gathering of clinical information and drafting of the case report. SRH arranged written consent from the patient’s next of kin. DW wrote the final manuscript and takes responsibility for the final content.

  • 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.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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

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