Palliative Sedation Therapy: A Case Report

Author(s): Emily G. Willard, BSN, RN, CCRN, Clareen Wiencek, PhD

Contact Hours 1.00

CERP A 1.00

Expires Dec 01, 2024

Topics: Medication Management, Palliative/End-of-life Care

Population: Adult

Member: Free
NonMember: $10.00

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Activity Summary

Required reading for all learners: Implicit Bias impacts patient outcomes

Relief of physical suffering at the end of life can usually be attained through medications that are administered intermittently in response to symptoms; generally, comfort-focused care aims to minimize suffering while still maintaining consciousness. Palliative sedation is the use of carefully titrated sedatives to induce unconsciousness in patients for the purpose of symptom control. The case described in this article prompted the authors to investigate the use of palliative sedation therapy in the management of uncontrolled symptoms in dying patients.


  • Identify circumstances in which the use of palliative sedation therapy may be appropriate.
  • Describe the ethical principles used when transitioning from curative care to comfort-focused care.
  • Identify the medications available for palliative sedation, and analyze the advantages and disadvantages of different sedatives

Continuing Education Disclosure Statement

Successful Completion

Learners must attend/view/read the entire activity and complete the associated evaluation to be awarded the contact hours or CERP. No partial credit will be awarded.


This activity has been reviewed by the Nurse Planner. It has been determined that the material presented here shows no bias. No conflicts of interest have been identified for any individual with the ability to influence the content of this activity. Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing education only and does not imply AACN or ANCC approval or endorsement of any commercial products discussed or displayed in conjunction with this educational activity.


The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC's) Commission on Accreditation, ANCC Provider Number 0012. AACN has been approved as a provider of continuing education in nursing by the California State Board of Nursing (CBRN), California Provider number CEP 1036. This activity is approved for 1.00 contact hours.

AACN programming meets the standards for most states that require mandatory continuing education contact hours for license and/or certification renewal. AACN recommends consulting with your state board of nursing or credentialing organization before submitting CE to fulfill continuing education requirements.

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