DeVeber Advisor and palliative care nurse and expert, Jean Echlin RN, MScN, reflects on the issues this judgment places before Canadians and our future health care system:
Moreover, in her opinion, those who opt to carry out euthanasia and assisted suicide will no longer be trusted. As she believes that acute and long term care institutions that enable patients to be put to death will not be trusted. Persons afraid of being euthanized will avoid admission on the basis of fearing an untimely death.
Jean Echlin asks:
“How will those who inflict death deal with the emotional/psychological aftermath?
Will they develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with its’ inherent anxiety, nightmares, depression and suicidal ideation?
Will they have some type of devastating spiritual/existential struggle following the process of putting patients to death?”
“We all die—but …” do patients have a “right” to die? Jean suggests there is no choice, we all die. However we can demand from our provincial and federal politicians support for hospice palliative care that will ensure excellence in the management of pain and other noxious symptoms that cause suffering. We can call for and support quality end-of-life care for every Canadian. We can support those at highest risk in this new social disorder: the elderly, persons with physical and/or emotional disabilities, patients with chronic and life-altering or life-threatening diseases.
We can teach medical and nursing students how to support and care for those who are labeled terminally ill; continue to educate current care providers on the best practice guidelines to meet the gold standard in palliative care; support and come along side those amazing professionals and volunteers who are currently involved in providing pain and symptom management; support the development of hospice palliative care in all facilities and in our communities.
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