Caring for the dying: From a "negative" to a "positive" legal right to die at home

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The choice of the old and terminally ill to die at home has been the subject of various types of research. However, one of the aspects of this subject, which has been investigated very little, is its legal context. The absence of such legal research is contrasted by the vast amount of academic writing on the legal aspects of the right to die with dignity and euthanasia. The object of this article is to analyze and break down the "right to die at home" into its different legal components. This legal analysis will be based on Professor Isaiah Berlin's definition of two different concepts of liberty: negative and positive freedoms. The main conclusion from the legal analysis presented in this article is that it is important to understand that at the legal level the right to die at home is dependent on many different elements. These elements may be classed in two basic categories: negative and positive freedoms and rights. Even though the former is a necessary condition of the latter, without the latter the first remains purely theoretical for many old people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-28
Number of pages7
JournalCare Management Journals
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • Elder law
  • Right to die at home
  • Senior's rights

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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