A current controversy exists whether or not to continue aggressive hydration in the terminally ill patient. Emerging research has suggested that terminal dehydration can be a palliative treatment option in end-of-life care. The purpose of this descriptive study was to explore the teaching practices and knowledge level of hospice nurses regarding terminal dehydration. The Integrated Clinical Judgment Model (Gordon, Murphy, Candee, & Hiltunen, 1994) guided this study. A researcher-developed questionnaire. Teaching Practices of Hospice Nurses Regarding Terminal Dehydration, consisting of six questions asking to identify personal teaching practices regarding terminal dehydration, and a second researcher-developed questionnaire. Terminal Dehydration Knowledge Level Questionnaire, consisting of 10 Likert-type statements, were administered. A convenience sample consisting of 54 full-time registered nurses employed in an Alabama community-based hospice was selected. Descriptive statistics of frequencies and percentages were used to analyze the data. The findings of the study revealed that iii hospice nurses are often asked by patients and family members to provide teaching regarding the issue of terminal dehydration. Also, the findings revealed that hospice nurses are knowledgeable regarding terminal dehydration and support previous research reflecting terminal dehydration as a means of palliative care. The education of patients, caregivers, and other members of the healthcare profession regarding terminal dehydration can improve the quality of life for the dying patient.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Dr. Lynn Chilton

Second Advisor

Melinda Rush

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons