European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) recommended framework for the use of sedation in palliative care

Palliat Med. 2009 Oct;23(7):581-93. doi: 10.1177/0269216309107024.


The European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) considers sedation to be an important and necessary therapy in the care of selected palliative care patients with otherwise refractory distress. Prudent application of this approach requires due caution and good clinical practice. Inattention to potential risks and problematic practices can lead to harmful and unethical practice which may undermine the credibility and reputation of responsible clinicians and institutions as well as the discipline of palliative medicine more generally. Procedural guidelines are helpful to educate medical providers, set standards for best practice, promote optimal care and convey the important message to staff, patients and families that palliative sedation is an accepted, ethical practice when used in appropriate situations. EAPC aims to facilitate the development of such guidelines by presenting a 10-point framework that is based on the pre-existing guidelines and literature and extensive peer review.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage*
  • Deep Sedation / adverse effects
  • Deep Sedation / standards*
  • Drug Monitoring / standards
  • Euthanasia / ethics
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Humans
  • Palliative Care / ethics
  • Palliative Care / methods
  • Palliative Care / standards*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / ethics
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards
  • Quality of Life*
  • Unnecessary Procedures


  • Analgesics, Opioid