Managing suffering at the end of life: A study of continuous deep sedation until death

Seymour, Jane (2017). Managing suffering at the end of life: A study of continuous deep sedation until death. [Data Collection]. Colchester, Essex: Economic and Social Research Council. 10.5255/UKDA-SN-850749

Data description (abstract)

Some dying people experience symptoms in the last hours or days of life that do not respond well to conventional therapies. In such circumstances, sedation may be given to induce a coma until death occurs. This practice is known as 'continuous deep sedation until death' or as 'palliative' or 'terminal' sedation. Although the practice is a standard procedure there are many debates about its definition, what drugs should be used or what criteria should guide its application. These data describe the care of dying people with refractory symptoms and include sensitive issues such as balancing symptom control with avoidance of hastening death. There is little knowledge about the decision making process at the bedside, or how the treatment relates to other issues of end of life decision making. In this study, a team of social scientists and clinicians seek to undertake a study in two parts. Part one involves firstly, a review of two bodies of literature: clinical research and practice; ethical, social science and philosophical. Secondly, a secondary analysis of an existing data set comprising surveys completed by UK medical practitioners. Part 2 will involve a series of 30 case studies using qualitative methods to interview staff and relatives most closely involved in the care of decedents who received continuous sedation until death at home, in hospital or in hospices.

Data creators:
Creator Name Affiliation ORCID (as URL)
Seymour Jane University of Nottingham
Name Affiliation ORCID (as URL)
Payne Sheila
Seale Clive
Addington-Hall Julia
Mathers N
Henry William
Sponsors: Economic and Social Research Council
Grant reference: RES-062-23-2078
Topic classification: Psychology
Keywords: death, sedation
Date published: 07 Feb 2013 08:52
Last modified: 05 Jun 2017 11:20

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