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Ethics Group

The IAPC Ethics Group identifies, discusses and examines matters of ethical nature and importance relating to palliative care, and liaises with relevant external experts and acts as a resource on ethical matters and issues with the primary purpose of drawing up Discussion and Position Papers for the IAPC on matters pertinent to Palliative Care and provides an information, education and leadership role in relation to ethics in palliative care for the Association.


Role: The role of the IAPC Ethics Group is to:

(a) identify, discuss and examine ethical matters and issues pertinent to Palliative Care.  This may include anticipating issues arising with an ethics dimension for palliative care and staying abreast of international developments relating to ethics in Palliative Care.

(b) research, collate and develop IAPC discussion and position papers on ethical issues and matters

(c) consult widely and appropriately with IAPC membership before draft discussion and position papers are adopted by the IAPC Board of Directors

(d) liaise with and agree final discussion and position papers with the IAPC Board

(e) act as an expert resource for IAPC on ethical matters.  This may have an information and education dimension in relation to the particular role of ethics in palliative care.

(f) liaise with other IAPC fora and working groups on possible areas of collaboration particularly in relation to capacity building in palliative care

(g) provide guidance and advice to the IAPC Board on key ethical issues as required


Outputs: Alongside its role in providing feedback to National Policy Consultations, the Ethics Group has developed a number of documents including:

Palliative Sedation Discussion Paper Download

Artificial Hydration in Terminally Ill Patients Position Paper Download

Voluntary Euthanasia Discussion Paper Download


Members: Dr Paul D’Alton (Chairperson), Psychologist, St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin

Dr Michael Connolly, Lecturer/Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems, University College Dublin

Dr Joan Cunningham, Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services, Blackrock Hospice, Dublin

Dr Regina McQuillan, Consultant in Palliative Medicine, St Francis Hospice, Dublin

Prof David Smith, Associate Professor of Health Care Ethics, Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI)