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The RCN highlights the vital role nurses play in end of life care

The RCN highlights the vital role nurses play in end of life care. This has included best practice and the National End of Life Care Programme, and how to support nurses coping with death and trauma

Nurses play a crucial role in providing high-quality end of life care, and many understand all too well the terrible uncontrolled suffering faced by a small but significant number of terminally ill patients.

Nursing and assisted dying

Since 2009 the RCN has taken a neutral position on assisted dying, when a majority of respondents to a consultation supported a change in the law .

Nurses’ views reflect those of the general public, who also overwhelmingly support the legalisation of assisted dying for terminally ill patients, within upfront safeguards to determine mental capacity and terminal diagnosis.

Speaking about her understanding of legalised assisted dying in places like the state of Oregon in the USA, Professor of nursing and HPAD member, Christine Webb, reflected on the importance of a nurse’s role under the Death with Dignity law:

‘nurses’ reports of taking part in assisted dying are extremely moving, describing how they see helping with the process as continuing their role as carers and advocates, ‘being with’ patients and their relatives up to and beyond implementation of a request’

With a draft assisted dying bill being introduced to the House of Lords this year, it is more urgent than ever that nurses speak out in support of change.

Join the nurses campaigning for assisted dying

Alongside access to good quality end-of-life care, Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying (HPAD) campaigns for a change in the law to allow terminally ill, mentally competent adults the choice of an assisted death, within upfront safeguards.

Nurses form a core part of HPAD’s membership and campaign for change.

If you are a practising, retired or student nurse you can join HPAD free of charge – t add your voice to show support and make the campaign a success!