Author(s): National Ethics Committee, Veterans Health Administra
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Abstract Many patients nearing the end of life reach a point at which the goals of care change from an emphasis on prolonging life and optimizing function to maximizing the quality of remaining life, and palliative care becomes a priority. For some patients, however, even high-quality aggressive palliative care fails to provide relief. For patients suffering from severe pain, dyspnea, vomiting, or other symptoms that prove refractory to treatment, there is a consensus that palliative sedation is an appropriate intervention of last resort. In this report, the National Ethics Committee, Veterans Health Administration examines what is meant by palliative sedation, explores ethical concerns about the practice, reviews the emerging professional consensus regarding the use of palliative sedation for managing severe, refractory symptoms at the end of life, and offers specific recommendations for institutional policy.
This article was published in Am J Hosp Palliat Care
and referenced in International Journal of School and Cognitive Psychology