Context Knowledge of determinants that are associated with the administration of continuous palliative sedation (CPS) helps physicians identify patients who are at risk of developing refractory symptoms, thereby enabling proactive care planning. Objectives This study aims to explore which patient-related factors at admission are associated with receiving CPS later in the terminal phase of life. Methods A prospective multicenter observational study was performed in six Dutch hospices and three nursing home-based palliative care units. The association between patient-related variables at admission (age, gender, diagnosis, use of opioids or psycholeptics, number of medications, Karnofsky Performance Status scale score, Edmonton Symptom Assessment System distress score, and Glasgow Coma Scale score) and the administration of CPS at the end of life was analyzed. Results A total of 467 patients died during the study period, of whom 130 received CPS. In univariate analysis, statistically significant differences were noted between the sedated and nonsedated patients with respect to younger age (P = 0.009), malignancy as a diagnosis (P = 0.05), higher Karnofsky Performance Status score (P = 0.03), the use of opioids (P < 0.001), the use of psycholeptics (P = 0.003), and higher Edmonton Symptom Assessment System distress score (P = 0.05). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that only the use of opioids at admission (odds ratio 1.90; 95% confidence interval 1.18-3.05) was significantly associated with the administration of CPS. Conclusion Physicians should be aware that patients who use opioids at admission have an increased risk for the administration of CPS at the end of life. In this group of patients, a comprehensive personalized care plan starting at admission is mandatory to try to prevent the development of refractory symptoms. Further research is recommended, to identify other determinants of the administration of CPS and to investigate which early interventions will be effective to prevent the need for CPS in patients at high risk.
Van Deijck, R. H. P. D., Hasselaar, J. G. J., Verhagen, S. C. A. H. H. V. M., Vissers, K. C. P., & Koopmans, R. T. C. M. (2016). Patient-Related Determinants of the Administration of Continuous Palliative Sedation in Hospices and Palliative Care Units: A Prospective, Multicenter, Observational Study. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 51(5), 882–889. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2015.12.327