In a series published on the EAPC blog, contributing authors Lukas Radbruch (Germany), Carlo Leget (The Netherlands), Patrick Bahr (Germany) and Paul Vanden Berghe (Belgium) discuss this contentious issue and the process of producing the white paper.
According to the authors: “The EAPC position paper concludes that euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are not a part of palliative care. Still, even with excellent palliative care some patients may ask for hastened death. These patients may present great challenges for palliative care teams.
“Palliative care experts should make this the starting point of holistic care, and should try to understand the motivation and attitude behind the patient’s wish. Patients should be offered the best form of symptom control, psychosocial and spiritual counselling, and alternative options such as palliative sedation or withdrawal of life-prolonging interventions.
“On an individual basis, patients deserve our respect and understanding in situations of misery and despair. As a society, we should clarify that we are living in an environment that is based on care and compassion and is affirmative of life.”