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Guidance on assisted dying urgently needed for care homes and nursing staff

On news today that Douglas Sinclair, a 76 year old man
who was suffering from the terminal condition Multiple System Atrophy, was no
longer welcome in his care home once he declared his desire to have an assisted
death, Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying said:

“Nurses and carers are in a very difficult situation
under the current law, and without specific guidelines on these issues.
Mr Sinclair should not have been in a situation where he felt unable to discuss
his end of life wishes, however, nurses and care staff have not been adequately
supported on what they can and can’t do when they know someone is considering
an assisted death, following the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)
guidelines on assisted suicide.

“Dignity in Dying is ultimately calling for a change
in the law to allow people like Mr Sinclair to request assistance to die at
home, within strict legal safeguards, and in an environment where healthcare
professionals can set out the alternatives and discuss any unmet needs.
In the meantime, patients will ask healthcare professionals for help to die,
and residents of care homes will make their own arrangements to be assisted to
die abroad, and as such care staff need more support and guidance on how to
best deal with these issues.”

Notes to

About Dignity in Dying:

· Dignity in Dying campaigns for greater choice, control
and access to services at the end of life. It advocates providing terminally
ill adults with the option of an assisted death, within strict legal safeguards,
and for universal access to high quality end-of-life care.

· Dignity in Dying has over 25,000 supporters and
receives its funding entirely from donations from the public.

· The British Social Attitudes Survey 2010 found that
92% of non-religious and 71% of religious people support assisted dying.
This relates to overall support of 82%.


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contact Jo Cartwright on 020 7479 7737 / 07725433025 or at