February 28, 2024

Swiss suicide group wants access to nursing homes

Exit organising referendum in Vaud canton

The Swiss group Exit is trying to force state-subsidised nursing homes in Geneva to allow their residents to decide whether assisted suicide is for them. Some homes refuse to allow Exit on their premises, so it has responded by launching a referendum in the canton of Vaud to force them. "When a nursing home stops us, they [will be] contravening the law," says Jérôme Sobel, president of Exit for French-speaking Switzerland. To organise a vote on the issue, Sobel’s group has to collect 12,000 signatures by next February.

At the moment, university hospitals in Lausanne and Geneva and several nursing homes allow assisted suicide on their premises. In fact, of the 66 assisted suicides in French-speaking Switzerland last year, five took place in old people’s homes. However, Sobel complains that some homes do not allow the practice at all or are uncooperative. A new law, he says, would ensure that terminally ill patients’ full rights are respected. ~ SwissInfo, Oct 9