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[Euthanasia and palliative care in the Netherlands]

Publication year
2004
Author(s)
Boisseau, N.
Pages
368-72
Volume
33
Number
6

THE BIRTH OF THE DUTCH LAW: Euthanasia has been recently legalized in the Netherlands (since April 1, 2002). In this Article, we present the various cultural and historical factors that contributed to the law, the guidelines for the procedure and the resulting controversy. THE INTERVENING FACTORS: Internationally, the attitude concerning end of life care are heterogenic and also directly depend on religious and cultural factors. In the Netherlands, the health system promotes the maintenance at home of the terminally ill. However, the financial aspects (private health insurance) interact with the management of these patients. The rules for euthanasia are very strict and a declaration must be registered. Dedicated commissions are organised to control that the rules are applied. The current debate concerns the pertinence of the regulations, the attitude towards handicapped people and children, and the need to develop palliative care. The latter have only recently been developed in the country. The priority is focusing on old peoples’ homes. The Netherlands is slow in this regard, but a new draft law is soon to be presented to the Authorities, and will most probably enable the gaps to be bridged.

Research abstracts