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Key messages

Palliative sedation therapy is the intentional use of sedative medicines to relieve a patient’s suffering from uncontrolled symptoms.

Palliative sedation therapy should only be provided by palliative care specialists.

In most cases, palliative sedation therapy is reserved for imminently dying patients in the last days of life.

Please note that this guidance is currently undergoing review by Safer Care Victoria to ensure  the content is up to date. In the meantime, we recommend that you also refer to more contemporaneous evidence where possible.

This guidance will help you support the patient, their family and carer to make decisions about care in the last days of life.

It details documentation, patient and family needs and clinical considerations through the important steps involved in palliative sedation therapy, including:

  • planning and assessment for palliative sedation therapy
  • at time of palliative sedation therapy
  • during sedation and after death.

Download the guidance 

This guidance adapts the Australia New Zealand Association of Palliative Medicine (ANZPM) palliative sedation therapy guidance for the Victorian context. This work was commissioned by the Department of Health and Human Services, and undertaken by the Palliative Care Clinical Network.

Get in touch

Clinical Guidance Team
Safer Care Victoria

Version history

First published: March 2020

Last reviewed: N/A

Due for review: March 2023

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