The use of palliative sedation for existential distress: a psychiatric perspective.
ABSTRACT This article introduces a structure for standardization in the ongoing debate about the application of palliative sedation for psychological and existential suffering at the end of life. We differentiate the phenomenon of existential distress from the more general one of existential suffering, defining existential distress as a special case of existential suffering that applies to persons with terminal illness. We introduce both a clinical classification system of existential distress based on proximity to expected death and a decision-making process for considering palliative sedation (represented by the mnemonic, TIRED). Neuropsychiatric clinical cases will be used to demonstrate some of the concepts and ethical arguments.