BACKGROUND:: Awareness and pain during palliative sedation is typically assessed by observational scales, but the use of such scales has been put into question.

CASE PRESENTATION:: A woman in her mid-80s was admitted to a palliative care unit, presenting with chronic lymphatic leukemia, depression, and a cerebrovascular accident, with right-sided hemiplegia and aphasia. The patient was unable to eat and was suffering from nausea and vomiting. Before admission, the patient had expressed her desire to discontinue treatment on several occasions.

CASE MANAGEMENT:: The decision was made to initiate palliative sedation. The patient consented to take part in a study to assess level of comfort and pain using two monitoring devices (NeuroSense monitor and Analgesia Nociception Index monitor).

CASE OUTCOME:: The patient died 90 h after initiation of palliative sedation. Titration of the medication was challenging and sedation was not deep enough during the first 2 days. Thirteen assessments made with the Ramsay Sedation Scale showed that the patient was considered to be in a deep sleep, while in fact the NeuroSense monitor indicated otherwise.

CONCLUSION:: This case demonstrates the feasibility and potential advantages of using monitoring devices to objectify assessments of pain and discomfort in palliatively sedated patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)712-716
Number of pages5
JournalPalliative Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2019

    Research areas

  • Palliative care, deep sedation, pain measurement, patient monitoring, unconsciousness

ID: 45353423