Is palliative care the same as euthanasia?

Palliative care and euthanasia are not the same thing. Euthanasia is the act of deliberately ending the life of a person with an incurable condition or illness. Physician assisted suicide is when a person ends their own life with the help of a doctor.

In early 2017 both euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide were illegal for all parties involved in every state and territory in Australia. Although the laws are under review in some places (visit End of Life Law in Australia for updates), euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are not part of palliative care practice.

The coordinated medical and support services of palliative care can help a person maintain comfort and quality of life throughout the advanced stages of their illness. Palliative care does not attempt to hasten death.

If you urgently need somebody to talk to because you are thinking about ending your life, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 for free, confidential telephone counselling at any time.

This information was last reviewed in April 2017
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