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Control measures for palliative sedation

Qualitative study into the views of physicians regarding control measures for palliative sedation


10-2018 to 09-2019

Abstract project


Palliative sedation is a much-discussed end-of-life practice, albeit for the wrong reasons. Although the deep sedation of terminal patients can in principle be regarded as normal medical end-of-life practice and is 3 times more common than euthanasia, it often appears in practice to approach termination of life, sometimes without explicit request from the patient. There also seems to be a lack of knowledge among doctors about how decision making and performance must be carried out with the necessary legal and medical due diligence criteria. These are the reasons why the call for societal control is getting louder and louder. Control measures that have been proposed range from systematic implementation of the existing guidelines to the compulsory registration of palliative sedation cases. As to which measures are most feasible and acceptable among physicians, nothing is known.


The aim of this qualitative study with Belgian doctors is to gain more insight into the views of physicians regarding measures to control the practice of continuous sedation at the end of life and more specifically the views of physicians around a legal framework and making registration, expert consultation and/or training mandatory.


The results of this study will be published in late 2019.


Federal Ministry of Social Affairs & Public Health

Project group

Promoter: Prof. Kenneth Chambaere
Co-Promoter: Lenzo Robijn
Researcher: Stijn Vissers