Nurse says better palliative care negates need for assisted dying


As the voluntary assisted dying Bill hit State Parliament last week, a palliative care nurse was ramping up her fight against it.

Lou Angus has worked in palliative care for 30 years and believes if people with “life-limiting illness” had adequate access to it then voluntary assisted dying would not be needed.

The Scarborough resident works with people with terminal illness at St John of God Subiaco Hospital and is part of the WA Palliative Medicine Specialist Group.

“I’ve been dealing with patients and families who have been living in that dying space for my whole career,” she said.

“One or two people in my 30-year history have asked to die.

“Most people, in our experience, are clinging onto life.”

Ms Angus said many doctors did not know to refer patients to palliative care specialists or did so too late.

Their services included management of pain, breathing and gastrointestinal issues, providing patients with information about their health and helping them make informed decisions about treatment and their future…

“They need to be asking for us. You’ve got nothing to lose.”

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