Families should be given more information on feeding tubes for dementia patients, a study has shown.
Research from Brown University found that the families of dementia patients in the US had insufficient information to make the decision of whether a feeding tube should be inserted.
Scientists point out that there is no evidence to indicate that feeding tubes increase survival rates or quality of life in older patients.
According to the findings, 13.7 per cent of respondents said their family member received a feeding tube without it first being discussed with them, and a further 11.2 per cent said they felt pressured to agree to the measure.
Lead author Joan Teno said: "Our results suggest that in these states with a high rate of feeding tube insertion we need to improve decision making so that the decision to insert a feeding tube is based on a process that elicits and respects patient's wishes."
In other news, being overweight has been identified as risk factor for dementia, according to researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.
Being overweight during middle age was found to increase the risk of dementia by 71 per cent.