Nurse practitioners participating in any aspect of medical assistance in dying understand and comply with the
Criminal Code and other legislation, the BCCNM standards of practice, and provincial and organizational policies and procedures related to medical assistance in dying.
Nurse practitioners have a complete and full discussion with the client about medical assistance in dying that provides the client with the information required to make informed decisions about medical assistance in dying. This must include information about the means that are available to relieve the client’s suffering, including palliative care (Criminal Code, section 241.2(1)(e)). More specifically, when the client’s natural death is not reasonably foreseeable, the nurse practitioner acting as an assessor-prescriber must ensure that the client has been informed of the means available to relieve their suffering, including, where appropriate, counselling services, mental health and disability support services, community services and palliative care, and that the client has been offered the opportunity for consultations with professionals who provide those services or that care (Criminal Code, section 241.2(3.1)(g)).
Nurse practitioners ensure that all necessary measures are taken to provide a reliable means by which the client will understand the information that is provided to them and communicate their decision, including when the client has difficulty communicating.
Nurse practitioners must inform the client requesting medical assistance in dying of the following:
the client’s diagnosis and prognosis
feasible alternatives (including palliative care and pain control)
option to withdraw the request for medical assistance in dying at any time
risks of taking the prescribed substances intended to cause death
Nurse practitioners assess the cultural and spiritual needs and wishes of the client seeking medical assistance in dying and explore ways the client’s needs could be met within the context of the care delivery.
Nurse practitioners work with their organizations and other members of the health care team to ensure that the client requesting medical assistance receives high quality, coordinated and uninterrupted continuity of care and, if needed, safe transfer of the client’s care to another health care provider.
Nurse practitioners acting as an assessor or assessor-prescriber must ensure clients requesting medical assistance in dying meet the eligibility criteria set out in the
(section 241.2(1) and (2))1
Nurse practitioners acting as an assessor or assessor-prescriber must ensure that:
they meet the independence requirements set out in the
Criminal Code (section 241.2(6)).2.
the client requesting MAiD is competent and able to give free and informed consent to MAiD. Consent cannot be given for MAiD through an alternate or substitute decision-maker, or a personal advance directive.
both assessors are satisfied that the client is mentally capable of making a free and informed decision with respect to medical assistance in dying at the time of the request.
if either assessor is unsure that the client has capacity to consent to medical assistance in dying, the client must be referred to another practitioner with expertise in capacity assessment (e.g., a psychologist, psychiatrist, neurologist, geriatrician, or family physician/general practitioner with additional training and expertise) for a further capacity assessment.
Nurse practitioners acting as an assessor or assessor-prescriber may provide their assessment virtually if they comply with the following conditions:
Nurse practitioners ensure that during the virtual assessment, another regulated health professional is in physical attendance with the client to act as a witness to the assessment, unless no other regulated health professional is reasonably available to attend in person.
Virtual assessments must meet the requirements set out in federal legislation and all other standards and expectations that apply to in-person assessments.
Virtual assessment must include video of sufficient quality to ensure expected safeguards are in place.
Nurse practitioners acting as an assessor-prescriber, before prescribing, providing or administering medical assistance in dying to a client, must comply with all applicable procedural safeguards set out in the
Criminal Code (section 241.2(3) or (3.1)).3
Immediately before providing medical assistance in dying, the nurse practitioner acting as an assessor-prescriber must give the client an opportunity to withdraw their request and ensure that the client gives express consent to receive medical assistance in dying, unless they meet the criteria in the
Criminal Code for waiver of final consent
(section 241.2(3.2) or (3.5)).4
Nurse practitioners acting as an assessor-prescriber, who
prescribe5 or administer the substances to be used in medical assistance in dying, must do so in the client’s name, using the provincial medical assistance in dying prescription form.
The nurse practitioner acting as an assessor-prescriber must receive the substances for medical assistance in dying directly from the dispensing pharmacist, and must inform the dispensing pharmacist that the substances are intended for the purpose of medical assistance in dying.
Nurse practitioners acting as an assessor-prescriber must personally attend the client during the self-administration or personally administer the substances for medical assistance in dying, and must remain in attendance until death is confirmed. This responsibility must not be delegated or assigned to any other person.
Nurse practitioners acting as an assessor-prescriber complete the medical certificate of death. The medical certificate of death must indicate that the manner of death involved medical assistance in dying and that the cause of death is the underlying illness/disease causing the grievous and irremediable medical condition.
Nurse practitioners comply with reporting requirements established for the oversight or monitoring of MAiD. The required information must be submitted to the BC Ministry of Health using the applicable provincial forms and within the established timeframes for
Nurse practitioners acting as an assessor-prescriber are responsible for ensuring that any unused substances are returned to the pharmacy as soon as reasonably practicable, within 72 hours of confirmation of the client’s death.
If a nurse practitioner acting as an assessor-prescriber is not reasonably available to return unused substances to the pharmacy themselves, they may ask another nurse practitioner, or a licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, registered psychiatric nurse, physician or pharmacist to return the substances to the pharmacy. The nurse practitioner must document the name of the person assigned to return the substances in the client record.
Nurse practitioners must ensure the following information is present in the client’s medical record:
provincial forms for medical assistance in dying, including the BC Medical Assistance in Dying Prescription form and Medication Administration Record
copies of all relevant medical records from other medical practitioners/health care professionals involved in the client’s care supporting the diagnosis and prognosis of the client’s grievous and irremediable condition, disease or disability
documentation of all requests for medical assistance in dying with a summary of the discussion
confirmation that the assessor-prescriber and the second assessor discussed and determined which practitioner would prescribe and/or administer the substance used for medical assistance in dying
confirmation by the assessor-prescriber that all the requirements have been met including the steps taken and the substance prescribed
confirmation that after the completion of all documentation, and just prior to administration, the client was offered the opportunity to withdraw their request, or that the client waived final consent and did not demonstrate refusal or resistance to the administration of MAiD by words, sounds or gestures.
Next: MAiD Limits and Conditions >>
Next: MAiD Limits and Conditions >>