Dehydration in terminally ill patients is a common condition and its treatment in an active oncology unit often involves intravenous (IV) hydration programs. The decision to use IV hydration is only partly determined by an objective assessment of the clinical data. The other component is the attitudes of those involved in the decision-making process. This pilot study surveyed the attitudes of patients, family members/friends, nurses and doctors toward IV hydration in this patient population. Although the majority of the conscious patients (95%), family members/friends (81%), and nurses (64%) were not involved in the decision-making process, the expressed attitudes were generally positive. The three most commonly stated reasons for IV therapy were "medication," "giving fluids" and "giving morphine." Interestingly, among the reasons expressed, the amelioration of thirst was never explicitly cited.