Justifying continuous sedation until death: A focus group study in nursing homes in Flanders, Belgium

Sam Rys, Reginald Deschepper, Luc Deliens, Freddy Mortier, Johan Bilsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Continuous Sedation until Death (CSD), the act of reducing or removing the consciousness of an incurably ill patient until death, has become a common practice in nursing homes in Flanders (Belgium). Quantitative research has suggested that CSD is not always properly applied. This qualitative study aims to explore and describe the circumstances under which nursing home clinicians consider CSD to be justified. Six focus groups were conducted including 10 physicians, 24 nurses, and 14 care assistants working in either Catholic or non-Catholic nursing homes of varying size. Refractory suffering, limited life expectancy and respecting patient autonomy are considered essential elements in deciding for CSD. However, multiple factors complicate the care of nursing home residents at the end of life, and often hinder clinicians from putting these elements into practice. Nursing home clinicians may benefit from more information and instruction about managing CSD in the complex care situations which typically occur in nursing homes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-111
Number of pages7
JournalGeriatric Nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Continuous Sedation
  • Terminal Sedation
  • Palliative Sedation
  • Ethics
  • Nursing Homes
  • Palliative Care
  • End-of-Life Care
  • Focus Groups


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