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Managing Common Gastrointestinal Symptoms at the End of Life

Miller, Karl E. MD; Miller, Marti RN, CRNH

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: January-February-March 2002 - Volume 4 - Issue 1 - p 34–42

After pain control, gastrointestinal symptoms are among the more common problems that healthcare professionals face when providing care at the end of life. These can range from mild and annoying to severe symptoms requiring emergency interventions. These symptoms include nausea and vomiting, dyspepsia and gastroesophageal reflux disease, constipation, hepatic failure, anorexia, and intractable hiccups. Treatment of these various gastrointestinal symptoms includes nonpharmacological and pharmacological management strategies.

Karl E. Miller, MD,is Medical Director of Adventa Hospice, Chattanooga, Tenn, and an associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine, University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Chattanooga Unit, Chattanooga, Tenn.Marti Miller, RN, CRNH,is the administrator for Adventa Hospice, Chattanooga, Tenn. She is a Certified Registered Nurse for Hospice.

Address correspondence to Karl E. Miller, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, 1100 East Third Street, Chattanooga, TN 37403 (

© 2002 The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association