• Switzerland's news in English

More nursing homes allow assisted suicide

Lyssandra Sears · 13 Jun 2012, 10:32

Published: 13 Jun 2012 10:46 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Jun 2012 10:32 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Zurich is leading the way in making assisted suicide available in retirement and nursing homes.


In a recent poll of nursing home employees in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, more than 50 percent confirmed that assisted suicide was practised at their place of work, newspaper Tribune de Genève reported.

"Only five years ago, only 20 percent of institutions accepted it,” Bernhard Sutter, vice president of Exit, the Swiss organization for assisted suicide, told the newspaper.

The number of instances where nursing homes are inviting Exit in to assist has been rising, with homes in Zurich leading the way, newspaper Tages Anzeiger reported.

"It's a development that is fanning out from Zurich in all directions," said Sutter in Tages Anzeiger.

Marc Pfirter, head of the Regional Care Centre in Baden, was forced recently to develop a policy for the centre when two of its residents asked for assistance in death.

“It's not up to us to determine what is right or wrong," he told Tages Anzeiger.

Pfirter, along with the home’s governing body, have taken the position that the will of the patients must remain “sacrosanct”.

On admission, “their world shrinks to a bed and a chest of drawers,” Pfirter said.

Some are also unable to move without assistance, which means their ability to function autonomously has been further reduced. Pfirter therefore concluded that the ability to determine the end of one’s life should rest in the hands of the elderly person.

The trend has not taken off across the entire region. In Solothurn, for example, assisted suicide is not permitted. Discussions are under way to amend this situation but the debate is heated.

Hans Ruedi Moor, director of the nursing home Wenigstein im Gremium, is against introducing assisted suicide in nursing homes.

“Imagine - two women live in one of our rooms. One day suddenly one of them is gone. The other asks us: 'What happened? She was still doing pretty well yesterday?’ And we say then, ‘Exit was here’.  This would be the trigger for great anxiety and uncertainty among the homes’ inhabitants.”

Lyssandra Sears (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
‘Scary clown’ craze hits streets of Zurich
Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP

Police in Zurich have warned so-called ‘scary clowns’ that they could face charges, following a number of incidents in the city.

VIDEO: driver chases runaway car on Swiss motorway
Image: Neuchâtel police

Shocking footage shows the moment a man dodged lorries to chase after his runaway car on a Swiss motorway.

Saas-Fee crowdfunds low-cost season ski pass
Saas-Fee is hoping to attract 99,999 season pass holders. Photo: Denis Emery/Photo-genic.ch

Skiers could get their hands on a whole season pass for just 222 francs ($223) in the Swiss resort of Saas Fee this winter – if enough people want one.

Swiss billionaire fined for dodging import tax
Urs Schwarzenbach owns the luxury Dolder Grand hotel in Zurich. Photo: Wilhem Rosenkranz

Urs Schwarzenbach faces a $4 million fine for failing to properly declare some 200 artworks imported into Switzerland.

Muslim woman wins headscarf court battle
Photo: Jack Guez / AFP

A Swiss court has ruled against a company that fired a longtime employee after she began wearing the Muslim headscarf.

Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
jobs available