The Decision-Making Process for Palliative Sedation for Patients with Advanced Cancer-Analysis from a Systematic Review of Prospective Studies
Alazne Belar 1 2 , Maria Arantzamendi 1 2 , Johan Menten 3 , Sheila Payne 4 , Jeroen Hasselaar 5 , Carlos Centeno 1 2 6
Background: The involvement of patients in decision making about their healthcare plans is being emphasized. In the context of palliative sedation, it is unclear how these decisions are made and who are involved in. The aim of the study is to understand how this decision-making is taken.
Method: Information from a systematic review on clinical aspects of palliative sedation prospective studies were included. PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane, MEDLINE, and EMBASE were searched (January 2014-December 2019). Data extraction and analysis regarded: (a) When and by whom the decision-making process is initiated; (b) patient involvement; (c) family involvement and (d) healthcare involvement.
Results: Data about decision making were reported in 8/10 included articles. Palliative sedation was reported in 1137 patients (only 16 of them were non-cancer). Palliative sedation was introduced by the palliative care team during the disease process, at admission, or when patients experienced refractory symptoms.
Only two studies explicitly mentioned the involvement of patients in decision making. Co-decision between families and the regular health care professionals was usual, and the health care professionals involved had been working in palliative care services.
Conclusion: Patient participation in decision making appeared to be compromised by limited physical or cognitive capacity and family participation is described. The possibility of palliative sedation should be discussed earlier in the disease process.