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Dignity in Dying welcomes consultation on right to die at home

Dignity in Dying welcomes plans from the Government to consult on creating the right to choose to die at home. However, without adequate resources, someone’s choice to die at home may not become a reality. Sufficient resources must be made available so that high quality end-of-life care can be provided in people’s homes regardless of postcode or diagnosis, otherwise the consultation and proposal are well intentioned but meaningless.

Dignity in Dying campaigns for all people to have what they consider to be a good death, and for many people this would mean being able to die at home, surrounded by their loved ones. Sadly, at the moment, 50% of people are not dying in the place of their preference.[1]

We hope that the Government’s desire to provide to good quality end-of-life care for all is made a reality and that this commitment is shared by the other political parties. Choice at the end of life can make such an important difference, as this testimony from a Dignity in Dying supporter shows:

“About a week before my first wife died in 2000, I plucked up courage to ask her ‘where do you want to die?’ She said ‘At home.’ I said ‘Who do you want with you?’ She said ‘You, and our 3 girls.’ I said ‘Well you better give us notice, so that I can tell them to come.’ She said ‘I will’. She did, and the girls came on Sunday. We mounted a vigil on Sunday night, but she survived the night. At 7 pm the doctor she had seen phoned and asked after her. I said ‘I think she has only hours left.’ He said ‘Tell her to let go and never mind about the rest of us.’ I said ‘Thanks, I will.’ I did. She smiled the most beautiful smile I had ever seen, and said thank you. She relaxed, and died with us at her bedside at 10pm. We kept her body in the room until 6pm the next day, and we all kept popping in to say goodbye many times. We needed time to be sure that she had really gone. That is the sort of death that I would wish on everybody.” – John Kapp

[1] Dr Keri Thomas, National Clinical Lead, palliative care and the GSF Programme, NHS End of Life Programme at the Sixth Annual Conference on palliative Care, 11 September 2007