Palliative Sedation in 2 Children with Terminal Cancer – an Effective Treatment of Last Resort in a Home Care SettingPalliative Sedierung zweier krebskranker Kinder in der Terminalphase – eine effektive Therapie auch in der häuslichen Versorgung
03 November 2011 (online)
As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), palliative care aims to improve quality of life in patients suffering from life-threatening disease. When dealing with intolerable and treatment-refractory symptoms, palliative sedation (PS) is an option of last resort. The European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) defines PS as the monitored use of medications intended to induce a state of decreased or absent awareness in order to relieve the burden of otherwise intractable suffering in an ethically acceptable manner (Cherny N, Radbruch L. Palliative Medicine 2009; 23: 581–593). Although PS has gained increasing research interest and is widely accepted as important and necessary therapy in palliative medicine, guidelines exist only for adults (Kirk T, Mahon M. J Pain Symptom Manage 2010; 39: 914–923).
In particular, little is known about the feasibility and effectiveness of PS in children. The present report concerns 2 children with end-stage cancer and severe, treatment-refractory dyspnea cared for by our specialized pediatric palliative care team (PCT) in a home-care setting.