IAHPC research & our fundamental values
Research is one of the four pillars of our 2020-2024 Strategic Plan, along with advocacy, education, and information dissemination. We just closed our member survey on euthanasia and assisted dying practices. In many countries assisted dying practices have either been decriminalized, legalized, or the issues are currently being debated in the legislatures. News and comment about these practices and legal proposals are becoming increasingly common in the media. Palliative care workers may be confronted with these issues at their institutions and in some cases—where these practices are legal—may be mandated to provide these services to patients.
We are quite concerned about the normalization of these practices, which divert investments in palliative care and may even be applied to persons not facing the end of life. Recent news articles describe Canada’s extremely liberal Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) law that, next year, is set to be extended to include people suffering from mental health conditions and, potentially, children. Human rights experts, ethicists, and many palliative care professionals have spoken up against the Canadian law, which allows individuals to request MAiD if they are too poor to continue living with dignity (if, say, they can’t afford housing). Criticism stems from the fact that the Canadian government is willing to finance their deaths instead of allocating sufficient funds to provide housing and other essentials.
We disagree with assisted dying practices becoming the means to end the lives of persons facing social and economic challenges. Nor do we believe that it is up to governments to solve social problems single-handedly.
We believe in the fundamental importance of empathy, which grounds our ability to connect and care for each other. Globalization and migration have separated many people from their friends and loved ones, leaving older persons with little or no social support. Have we lost the sense of caring? Governments do not have the human or financial resources—nor do they provide the compassion and care—that comes from loved ones. We need to build strong, compassionate communities where persons are not left alone in their suffering and support each other in difficult times. This is the ethos of palliative care.
Until next month,
Lukas Radbruch, MD
Liliana De Lima, MHA
For the original link and full page follow this link: https://hospicecare.com/what-we-do/publications/newsletter/2022/11/dear-readers/