The Dutch government has launched a new campaign to encourage people to think more about the end of their lives – well before they reach them.
The website About Palliative Care brings together all sorts of information about care options for later life and how to talk with family and friends about your wishes.
Although it links to a government website giving more information about advanced care directives – which can be used to give instructions such as ‘do not resuscitate’ orders and euthanasia wishes in cases such as advancing dementia – the website does not dwell much on euthanasia itself.
‘Talking about the last phase of life often happens too late or not at all,’ said junior health minister Hugo de Jonge in a tweet. ‘It’s a difficult conversation and dying doesn’t seem to fit in our “Instagram” lives. But it’s important that we see death and talking about it as normal parts of life.”
Praten over de laatste levensfase gebeurt vaak te laat en te vaak niet. En dat gesprek is ook moeilijk. Doodgaan lijkt niet te passen in onze ‘instagramsamenleving’. Belangrijk dat we de dood en het gesprek daarover gewoon zien als onderdeel van het leven. #palliatievezorg pic.twitter.com/J3f59MUsHK
— Hugo de Jonge (@hugodejonge) June 20, 2019
The campaign also has tips for doctors and family members and makes it clear that it’s best to talk about these things well before there are no more medical treatment options available.
De Jonge told Trouw that the campaign was neither encouraging nor discouraging people from seeking euthanasia, however. ‘Information about euthanasia and information about care for people who have no more treatment options sit alongside one another,’ he reportedly said. ‘What is new is that we are calling attention to a better discussion about the whole final phase of life.’
Dick Bosscher, adjunct board director at the NVVE organisation which gives information about and campaigned for euthanasia laws in the Netherlands, told DutchNews.nl that euthanasia is clearly a part of the picture – but a controversial one because the coalition government contains both liberal and Christian parties with opposite views on this subject.
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