Clinically-assisted nutrition and hydration

Clinically-assisted nutrition and hydration and deciding best interests

Location: England Wales
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Wednesday 26 April 2023
Topics: Ethics

The most crucial part of decision-making about CANH is that all decisions must follow careful consideration of the individual circumstances of the patient, and focus on reaching the decision that is right for that individual.

There will always be a strong presumption that it is in the patient’s best interests to receive life-sustaining treatment. That presumption can be rebutted if there is clear evidence that a patient would not want CANH provided in the circumstances that have arisen. This means that it is crucial that proper best interests assessments are carried out and documented.

In addition to the detailed practical guidance we provide in 'Appendix One' of the guidance document, you can also download an infographic which sets out how best interests assessments should be approached. You can use this as an aide memoire, or download it to display around your workplace. A model proforma is available to help record your best interests decision-making. This is available to download alongside other decision-making process tools.