Flemish palliative-care nurses' attitudes to palliative sedation: A quantitative study

Nursing Ethics 19 (5):692-704 (2012)
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Abstract

Palliative sedation is an option of last resort to control refractory suffering. In order to better understand palliative-care nurses’ attitudes to palliative sedation, an anonymous questionnaire was sent to all nurses (589) employed in palliative care in Flanders (Belgium). In all, 70.5% of the nurses (n = 415) responded. A large majority did not agree that euthanasia is preferable to palliative sedation, were against non-voluntary euthanasia in the case of a deeply and continuously sedated patient and considered it generally better not to administer artificial floods or fluids to such a patient. Two clusters were found: 58.5% belonged to the cluster of advocates of deep and continuous sedation and 41.5% belonged to the cluster of nurses restricting the application of deep and continuous sedation. These differences notwithstanding, overall the attitudes of the nurses are in accordance with the practice and policy of palliative sedation in Flemish palliative-care units

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