Despite the development of palliative care and advanced symptom management over the past decades, some patients may still face unbearable suffering from symptoms that do not respond to treatment. In such situations, there has been a recent increase in the practice of sedating the patient until death in order to relieve otherwise untreatable pain and distress. However, continuous sedation until death has also become a contentious topic of ethical debate. Some have argued that continuous sedation is regularly being used to hasten death, and have described this practice as 'slow euthanasia'. In nursing homes in Flanders, the rate of continuous sedation until death has tripled over the past decade, while legal euthanasia remains a rare practice.

This book offers an empirical-ethical analysis of the practice of continuous sedation until death. First, the conceptual basis of continuous sedation is clarified through an extensive review of the literature. Subsequently, in a more empirical manner, this work investigates how this concept is being applied in nursing homes in Flanders. This empirical research examines both the general considerations of Flemish nursing home clinicians (physicians and nurses) regarding continuous sedation, as well as the actual practice of continuous sedation in nursing homes in Flanders. Finally, this book concludes with some recommendations for clinical practice and further research.
Datum Prijs29 jan 2014
Toekennende instantie
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel
BegeleiderJohan Bilsen (Promotor), Ellen Gorus (Jury), Wim Distelmans (Jury), Dirk Devroey (Jury), D.l. Willems (Jury), N. Van Den Noortgate (Jury) & Freddy Mortier (Co-promotor)

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