Policy briefing

Responding to a request to hasten death

The RCN has published updated guidance on assisted suicide.
End of life

Essential facts

Intense media interest and a number of high-profile court cases have kept the assisted suicide debate in the public eye.

Nurses and care support workers are often the members of staff that patients feel comfortable enough to talk to about a desire to actively hasten death.

As assisted suicide is a controversial and divisive issue, it can be difficult for nurses to determine how best to respond professionally and compassionately to such a request, as well as continuing to support patients in their ongoing care.

New guidance to help nurses respond to requests from patients regarding assisted suicide has been published by the RCN.

Support for nurses

Updating the previous guidance from five years ago, the document reinforces that assisting a


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