End of Life Choices

Palliative Terminal/Sedation

Palliative Sedation, sometimes called terminal sedation, involves being medicated to the point of the loss of consciousness. Typically the person remains unconscious until death.

At the same time, all nutrition and fluids are stopped. Palliative sedation is often a good option for those suffering from extreme pain and suffering.  Palliative sedation must be medically managed by a healthcare provider and must be provided in a hospital or institutional setting such as an inpatient hospice facility. It is rarely provided at home.

The intent of palliative/terminal sedation is not to cause death, but to relieve suffering. Palliative sedation is only given to relieve severe, unrelieved suffering, and it is only utilized when a patient is already close to death.

Palliative sedation has been administered since the hospice care movement began in the 1960s and is legal everywhere in the U.S.  

Palliative sedation is generally restricted to those who are imminently and irreversibly dying.  It is not a widely practiced method of care at this time and is generally only prescribed in extreme situations.

“Thank you for your help through this process. We found comfort in our phone call with you and were able to connect with a hospice company who will honor my mom's wishes to exercise MAID if need be. My mom feels a sense of relief knowing that she has options and control over her treatment. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and thank you from my parents.” SC

End of life choices California

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