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 Medical Assistance in Dying

​We've put together a list of frequently asked questions. Don't see the information you're looking for? Feel free to contact us.

  • practice@bccnp.ca
  • 604.742.6200 x8803 (Metro Vancouver)
  • Toll-free 1.866.880.7101 x8803 (within Canada only)

FAQs

Can I refuse to provide general nursing care to a client who has requested medical assistance in dying?

The federal legislation does not force any one to provide or assist in providing MAiD.

Personal judgments about a client who has requested a medically assisted death must not compromise the client's care by your withdrawal or refusal to provide general nursing care. A nurse does not have the right to refuse the client general nursing care. For example, assistance with personal hygiene, toileting, a request for fluids or food, or post-mortem care after the MAiD procedure, are general nursing care activities nurses provide to clients. 

There is a difference between caring for a client as a person and having a conscientious objection to a client's request for a particular treatment or procedure. You are not required to assist in the provision of MAiD; however, you have a professional and legal obligation to provide your clients with safe, competent and ethical nursing care. 

If you have a conscientious objection to MAiD (moral or religious beliefs and values that differ from those of a client), you must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the quality and continuity of client care is not compromised. Notify your organization of your objection well before your client is to receive MAiD. The Duty to Provide Care Practice Standard will provide you with additional direction about your responsibilities.

Can I provide information to clients about medical assistance in dying?

Yes. The Criminal Code permits health care professionals to provide information to a client about the lawful provision of MAiD. Nurses can provide information, engage in discussions, and educate their clients about MAiD.

However, counselling a person to commit suicide is still a criminal offence. You should be mindful in your work with clients not to encourage, counsel, advise, recommend or in any way seek to influence a client to end their life.

You may choose to refer a client's inquiries about MAiD to their physician/NP, to a designated Health Authority MAiD Coordination Service, or to other staff who may be in a better position to answer questions about available services. Every B.C. health authority has a designated service to help connect persons requesting information on MAiD with a physician or NP who can provide guidance.

Nurses should contact their insurer or other independent legal advisor if they have any questions about this point, as BCCNM cannot provide nurses with legal advice about their specific circumstances.

What do I need to document if I'm assisting during a medically assisted death?

Use your professional judgment and apply your employer policies, BCCNM’s MAiD standards, limits and conditions and Documentation practice standard to document your nursing activities.  Only the NP or physician providing the assisted death can document their own assessments and care, including the administration of MAiD medications on the provincial MAR for MAiD and the pronouncement of the client’s death.