Must an end-stage Alzheimer's patient be tube-fed?


My mother is in a nursing home and is in the end stage of Alzheimer’s disease. Yesterday we were told we needed to decide on a feeding tube or hospice care for her, as she has lost a great deal of weight. Prior to her disability, my mother stated she would not want measures taken to prolong her life should death be iminent.

Alzheimer’s organizations advocate hospice care, stating feeding tubes create more problems than benefit. I am Catholic and my parents are Pentacostal and I have no idea what the right decision is. Will I be wrong in my faith to opt for hospice care, which will continue providing oral feeding?


For a medical bioethics question such as this, I strongly recommend that you contact the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) for help in determining the ethical course of action in your mother’s case. The links below may also be helpful. God bless.

Recommended reading:

A Catholic Guide to End-of-Life Decisions by the NCBC
Food and Water by Jimmy Akin
Food, Water, and Oxygen by Jimmy Akin

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit