The Eastern Palliative Care Statement on Euthanasia is as follows.
Eastern Palliative Care:
- Defines Palliative Care as a concept of care that provides coordinated nursing, medical and allied health services for people who are facing a life limiting illness. This care is delivered, where possible, in the environment of that person’s choice. This care provides physical, psychological, social, emotional and spiritual support for patients, families and their friends. The scope of Palliative Care services includes grief and bereavement support for the patient and family and other carers during the life of the patient and after the patient’s death.
- Believes that all Palliative Care services should be available to everyone in need of such services and that adequate funding for quality Palliative Care services should be provided.
- Believes that dying is a natural process and that declining or withdrawing overly burdensome or ineffective treatment is acceptable.
- States that Palliative Care practice does not include deliberate ending of life, even if this is requested by the patient. However we invite the opportunity to have an open discussion with the client and their family regarding their values, goals and the nature of suffering.
- Acknowledges that while much can be achieved by Palliative Care to relieve physical pain and to provide social and emotional support, human suffering is often a complex and difficult phenomenon.
- Recognises that while some people desire to control the dying process either by requesting a deliberate ending of life or by requesting futile treatment, and some may fear that Palliative Care may involve deliberately ending life, the role of Palliative Care is to offer reasonable means to relieve discomfort and to support the person in the dying process, not to determine when death will occur.
- Recognises that the wide divergence of views about euthanasia in Australian society and the many unfounded fears about death and dying demand an informed response about the capacity of Palliative Care to assist people to live with dying.
- Welcomes open and frank discussion within the community and the health professions about all aspects of death and dying including Advance Care Planning, and the importance of basing those discussions on accurate information about Palliative Care.
- Opposes the practice and the legalization of the practice of euthanasia or assisted suicide, because of inherent risks to individuals and society, and because this would compromise the ethos of Palliative Care in Australia.
For a definition of Palliative Care please refer to the World Health Organisation definition as at September 2015: World Health Organisation Definition of Palliative Care
[Approved Committee of Management 28 September 2015]