Shared Health logo white
Follow us on:
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram
COVID-19 Information: Latest updates for Manitobans and resources for health providers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the status of the law on medical assistance in dying?

In June 2016, the Parliament of Canada passed federal legislation that allows eligible Canadian adults to request and receive medical assistance in dying.

Who is eligible for medical assistance in dying in Canada?

According to federal law a person may receive medical assistance in dying only if they meet all of the following criteria:

  1. they are eligible for health services funded by a government in Canada
  2. they are at least 18 years of age and capable of making decisions with respect to their health
  3. they have a grievous and irremediable medical condition defined as including ALL of the following:
    1. They have a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability
    2. They are in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability
    3. Their illness, disease or disability or state of decline causes them enduring physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable to them and that cannot be relieved under conditions that they consider acceptable
    4. Their natural death has become reasonably foreseeable, taking into account all of their medical circumstances, without a prognosis necessarily having been made as to the specific length of time that they have remaining.
  4. they have made a voluntary request for medical assistance in dying that, in particular, was not made as a result of external pressure; and
  5. they provide informed consent to receive medical assistance in dying after having been informed of the all the means that are available to relieve their suffering, including palliative care.

What is medical assistance in dying? Is there more than one form?

There are 2 types of medical assistance in dying available to Canadians. They each must include a physician or nurse practitioner who:

  • directly administers a substance that causes death, such as an injection of a drug
    • this is known as clinician-administered medical assistance in dying

or

  • provides or prescribes a drug that the eligible person takes themselves, in order to bring about their own death
    • this is known as self-administered medical assistance in dying

What are the medications used for medical assistance in dying?

That information will not be provided publicly. Health-care providers may contact the provincial medical assistance in dying team (who has developed a standardized prescription) for further information.

How does the option of medical assistance in dying affect medical practice?

Conversations around suffering and end of life care do not need to change. Consideration by a patient of medical assistance in dying should not alter the treatment options offered and discussed. Please see the Advice for Health Professionals and Standards of Practice for additional information.

Health-care providers who wish to participate in the medical assistance in dying process with their patients can work alongside the provincial medical assistance in dying team.

I work at a faith-based facility and I don’t believe our faith-based mandate aligns with the practice of medical assistance in dying – how will Shared Health address that?

Shared Health respects the position of abstaining facilities and will continue to work collaboratively with those sites as partners.

While you or your facility may object to medical assistance in dying, conversations around suffering and end of life are a normal part of the health-care provider-patient interaction and may lead to better care for the patient. These conversations can be had outside of the formal medical assistance in dying process.

Shared Health expects any and all staff who have conscience-based objections to medical assistance in dying to refer patients to the following resources so that they may obtain the information they need to make their decision:

What should I say to patients and families who ask me to assist them in dying?

All health-care providers are expected to respond compassionately and respectfully. Shared Health has asked that staff have conversations with patients to explore why they want medical assistance in dying and explore all options that may address their suffering. If a patient wants to pursue medical assistance in dying, we ask staff to either share the contact information for the provincial medical assistance in dying team with the patient and/or send a referral directly to the team. Otherwise, refer the request to the chief medical officer/nursing officer of their site (through a manager or supervisor).

I have conscience-based objection to medical assistance in dying. What are my options if I am asked to participate in or provide information about medical assistance in dying?

No one will be compelled to provide or participate in medical assistance in dying. We do, however, expect that all patients be provided access to resources and information on medical assistance in dying. If approached by a patient or family seeking information on medical assistance in dying, please reach out to the chief medical officer/nursing officer at your site (through a manager/supervisor or other leadership as appropriate) and/or refer the patient to the provincial medical assistance in dying team or Health Links-Info Santé to find out more information on their own.

It is important to remember, health-care providers with conscience-based objections may still explore the reason for a request for medical assistance in dying as it may reveal opportunities to discuss other ways of relieving a patient’s suffering.

I feel that medical assistance in dying can fit into my practice. What are my options?

All health-care providers interested in providing medical assistance in dying should contact the provincial medical assistance in dying team.

Have we had any requests in Manitoba for medical assistance in dying?

Yes. There have been, and continue to be, requests for and provision of medical assistance in dying within the province.

How is medical assistance in dying being provided in Manitoba?

In Manitoba, there is a provincial medical assistance in dying team comprised of physicians, nurses, social workers, pharmacists and speech language pathologists. Currently, only the MAiD team may provide medical assistance in dying within regional health authority facilities. The MAiD team is always willing and able to work alongside the patient’s existing healthcare team.

Is medical assistance in dying different from palliative care?

Yes. In palliative care, medications and treatments are given to relieve symptoms but the intention is not to cause death. In medical assistance in dying the medications given are intended to cause death. A patient may receive both palliative care and medical assistance in dying.

Can a person who receives medical assistance in dying donate their organs?

Yes, it may be possible for some patients who receive medical assistance in dying to participate in organ and/or tissue donation. This would need to be determined on a case by case basis.

Who should I contact with more questions?

Top
Font Resize
Contrast