How do you feed a dying person?

Hospice clinicians often encounter patients whose wishes for their final days include fried food or ice cream. While this may not be advisable in preventative care, in hospice, it can help make someone’s final days memorable. A nurse describes her experience with her grandmother and how it prepared her for hospice care. 

Susan Dolan talks about sneaking ice cream parfaits for her grandmother in this article in the New York Times. She then describes how this experience prepared her for the “pleasure diet” in hospice care and the benefit it brings to patients: 

After months or even years of eating mushy, unidentifiable meals, a favorite food can seem like heavenly manna. Sometimes, at the request of a patient or family member, a doctor will order “pleasure feeds” to indulge a person’s special request, even if they have been on a strict special diet or are NPO (nothing by mouth), because the purpose of food at this time is enjoyment, not proper nutrition.

What’s been your experience with “pleasure foods” in hospice care? Let us know at and we’ll feature your response on a future blog post.