The Levenseindekliniek (end of life clinic) only offers euthanasia or assisted suicide to people whose request for assisted dying was first denied by their own physician. The clinic is not a hospital or a hospice, but a foundation with teams of doctors and nurses who work separately and visit the patients at home. The office in The Hague first reviews the request, to establish whether it stands a chance of meeting the strict criteria of the Dutch euthanasia law. If so, one of the teams speaks with the patient on a number of occasions to thoroughly investigate the request. All medical background is researched and previous doctors are consulted. If all the criteria are met, the patient can die at home, in the presence of family and friends.
The Levenseindekliniek was established in 2012 by the NVVE, the Dutch right to die society. Although anyone can ask the Levenseindekliniek for assisted dying, the main focus is on those patients whose requests for assisted dying are more complex and often denied by their own physician: psychiatric patients, people with dementia, or patients with non-fatal diseases.
According to the Dutch law patients must be experiencing unbearable suffering without perspective of improvement in order to be eligible for euthanasia. In the law there is no distinction between physical or psychological suffering. Furthermore patients must be persistent in their decision to request assisted dying and they must understand the consequences of what they are asking. The doctor must be convinced that there is no other reasonable solution to end the suffering.
The Levenseindekliniek can only help patients who have been living in the Netherlands, and who are able to express their request coherently and understandably in Dutch or English.