Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Palliative Sedation: Moving from Contention to Consensus

  • Blair HenryEmail author
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 116)


At its core, medicine strives for a compassionate and skilled response to all patients experiencing pain and suffering. Through the concurrent growth of palliative care as a medical specialty and an enhanced pharmaceutical armamentarium available to clinicians working with patients at the end of life, this core aim can be realized. Evidence-based data demonstrates that the range of refractory or intolerable symptomatology is constantly being reduced. Nonetheless, the clinical presentation of disease, particularly at the end of life, can be such a distressing experience that induced sedation may be the most appropriate and clinically beneficial treatment. This chapter will attempt to present a case for the utility of establishing clinical guidelines to support the practice of palliative sedation by exploring the contextual history of end-of-life care, particularly as it relates to the contentious advent of sedation as a therapy of choice for the palliation of refractory and intolerable symptoms in a subset of terminally ill patients.


Palliative Care Clinical Guideline Guideline Development Double Effect Palliative Sedation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ethics Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences CentreTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Joint Center for BioethicsUniversity of TorontoONCanada

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