Ethics of Continuous Deep Sedation in Care for Patients with Terminal Illness_Enduring

Palliative sedation therapy is undertaken when other methods of relieving patient suffering at the end of life have failed. If symptoms such as pain, dyspnea, and agitated delirium cannot be managed with the conventional range of palliative resources, a patient is put into a state of reduced consciousness so that the patient is no longer aware of the symptoms. This session will examine some key ethical questions that arise from the use of palliative sedation therapy in terminally ill patients, with a particular focus on continuous deep sedation.

There is no educational content to this course. This course is designed to supplement training that has already occurred. This course is designed to only administer the post-test and collect CME evaluations.

Target Audience

Nurses, Pharmacists, Social Workers, Health Coaches, Registered Dieticians, and Paramedics / EMTs

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this activity, participants should be able to:
  • Explore the nature of continuous deep sedation and how it is related both to palliative sedation therapy more generally and to euthanasia.
  • Examine the main ethical problems that have traditionally arisen for continuous deep sedation.
  • Discuss and consider the proposal that continuous deep sedation be treated as a “third way” of intervening at the end of life, distinct from both ordinary palliative care and euthanasia.
  • Discuss how this revised account of continuous deep sedation affects the ethics of the practice.
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 ANCC
    UPMC Provider Unit is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation
  • 1.00 Attendance
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
UPMC HR Direct for the UPMC Health Plan
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
United States
Steven Farrelly-Jackson, DPhil
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies & Global Health Studies Allegheny College
Steven Farrelly-Jackson, PhD, is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies & Global Health Studies at Allegheny College where he teaches medical ethics, medical humanities, global health and several courses in philosophy. He received his B.A. Honors from the University of Cape Town and his PhD from Oxford University. His main academic interests include medical ethics, global health ethics, and philosophy of literature. Related to health care, Dr. Farrelly-Jackson coordinates and teaches in a joint program in Community Healthcare between Allegheny College and the Community Care Network of the Meadville Medical Center.
Planning Committee
Michelle Schreiber, MSN, RN, CCM
Clinical Education Coordinator, Clinical Training & Education, UPMC Health Plan
Michele Gordon, PhD, LSW
Program Manager, Clinical Training & Education, UPMC Health Plan
David Marr, PharmD
Senior Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Pharmacy Services, UPMC Health Plan
Conflict of Interest Disclosure
No planners, members of the planning committee, speakers, presenters, authors, content reviewers and/or anyone else in a position to control the content of this education activity have relevant financial relationships to disclose.
Disclaimer Statement
The information presented at this CME program represents the views and opinions of the individual presenters, and does not constitute the opinion or endorsement of, or promotion by, the UPMC Center for Continuing Education in the Health Sciences, UPMC / University of Pittsburgh Medical Center or Affiliates and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.  Reasonable efforts have been taken intending for educational subject matter to be presented in a balanced, unbiased fashion and in compliance with regulatory requirements. However, each program attendee must always use his/her own personal and professional judgment when considering further application of this information, particularly as it may relate to patient diagnostic or treatment decisions including, without limitation, FDA-approved uses and any off-label uses.
In support of improving patient care, the University of Pittsburgh is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.
Nursing (CNE)
The maximum number of hours awarded for this Continuing Nursing Education activity is 1.0 contact hours.
Other Healthcare Professionals
Other health care professionals will receive a certificate of attendance confirming the number of contact hours commensurate with the extent of participation in this activity.

Available Credit

  • 1.00 ANCC
    UPMC Provider Unit is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation
  • 1.00 Attendance
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