My name is Anthony Parr from Tasmania and I am pleased to be able to say a few words regarding my experience with palliative care here in Tasmania and India.
I have personally been involved with the direct care and transportation of palliative care patients. I also have had the joy of assisting my parents, grandmother and mother-in-law during their final weeks of life. The opportunity to assist both family and strangers in their final moments of life, is not only rewarding personally, but also gave me peace of mind, by applying my skills in a way that ultimately displays a great respect for the dignity of the human person.
I have some 36 years’ experience in the ambulance industry along with voluntary work in India (Mother Teresa’s- Home for the Dying). I can be very thankful that those I attended died in a very dignified manner. Good palliative care, quality medication and in most cases information and support, helped patients and family to cope with and understand the dying process.
For our country now to talk once again about voluntary assisted suicide under the banner of compassion, is not only misleading but a sad ending to the true dignity of the person concerned.
My experience tells me that people, if they are treated with respect and informed correctly along with the right level of medication, etc., will have the peace of mind and opportunity to spend quality time with family and embrace all the love and care good palliative care can offer.
My mother-in-law is one example where she not only wished to die at home but received excellent Home Care by the Palliative care team. She died exactly how she would have wanted—with true dignity.
I believe if those who advocate for assisted suicide opened up their mindset to embrace the true meaning of quality palliative care, they would embrace the desire to increase funding and promote solid information (especially to caregivers), so they may understand that the dying process is a natural part of our life. By talking and educating ourselves we will one day embrace a natural death without being frightened or anxious.
It has been an honour for me to put what I have written into action. I have seen the results good palliative care, and believe it is affordable to everyone.