Palliative Sedation

Also Referred to as Terminal Sedation

Unlike adequate pain and symptom management, however, palliative sedation is not necessarily a “right.” While it can be requested, it is up to the medical provider to determine if it is appropriate.

Palliative sedation, also referred to as terminal sedation, is the practice of relieving difficult-to-manage distress for a terminally ill person in the last days and hours of life, usually by means of a sedative drug which renders the patient unconscious. Palliative sedation is usually provided in a hospital or a skilled nursing or inpatient hospice facility. All nutrition and hydration is stopped, and the patient usually dies within a few days.

If having the option of palliative sedation is important, discuss it with hospice or other medical providers well before it becomes necessary.

End of Life Washington provides advice and support to people considering all end-of-life decisions, including Death with Dignity. For more information about any of these end-of-life options and to request our free client support services, contact End of Life Washington – or 206.256.1636.