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The use of proportional palliative sedation for the relief of refractory symptoms: an international multicenter study

Project: Research


Lancaster University is sharing in a €4 million project to investigate how best to help patients with distressing symptoms near the end of life.
It will focus on the clinical, ethical, legal and moral aspects of providing deep sedation to dying patients across Europe.
The five year project (2019-2023) called ‘Palliative Sedation’ - The use of proportional palliative sedation for the relief of refractory symptoms” is funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 funding stream and aims to investigate the use of palliative sedation in several European countries.
The project will investigate current practices and guidelines and will contain a prospective clinical study about palliative sedation. It focuses on the similarities and differences in both the clinical and ethical aspects of practice across Europe and will formulate recommendations for an updated European framework for palliative sedation.
An online learning programme is foreseen together with a policy workshop for further development and implementation. Partners are located in Belgium, the Netherlands, England, Germany, Spain, Italy, Hungary, and Romania.
Professor Sheila Payne and Professor Nancy Preston from the International Observatory on End of Life Care at Lancaster University are both involved in the project.
Professor Preston said: “In the UK, palliative sedation is normally used for a limited period but this is not the case in all European countries. We need to ask if this is an appropriate way to support dying patients with difficult symptoms?”
The Lancaster team will be developing online education programmes for doctors and nurses to improve end of life care across Europe.
Effective start/end date1/01/1930/06/24


  • European Commission: £443,001.00


Research outputs