Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) is the process whereby a doctor or nurse practitioner helps and supports a patient who wants to voluntarily and intentionally end their life. Medical Assistance in Dying is administered with drugs that can be taken by mouth or given intravenously. Watch: Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada (05:12s)
When thinking about the end of your life and saying goodbye to those you love, you may feel a deep sense of grief and sadness. You may also feel relieved to have some control over when and how you will die, and knowing a plan is in place. Our guide to supporting patients and families going through Medical Assistance in Death (MAiD) aims to answer any questions you or your loved ones may have, provide practical information, and ease your concerns.
Eligibility for MAiD
To receive Medical Assistance in Dying, you must meet all of the following criteria:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be eligible for publicly-funded health services in Canada
- Be able to give informed consent throughout the process, including at the final moment when Medical Assistance in Dying is to be provided
- Have a grievous and irremediable medical condition (illness, disease or disability), and:
- be suffering intolerably from this condition
- be in an advanced state of decline that cannot be reversed
- be at the point with your condition where natural death is reasonably foreseeable
- Make a request for MAiD of your own free will, without pressure or influence from anyone else
The required forms for Medical Assistance in Dying are located on the BC Ministry of Health MAiD website.
The Medical Assistance in Dying Process in BC
Talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner about the end-of-life care options available to you. If you are considering MAiD, they can help you navigate the process or refer you to someone who can help. This process also ensures you are aware of all the care options available to you and that you have the information required to make an informed decision. These care options may include comfort care, pain control, hospice care, palliative care, or other options. You do not have to accept any of these services, but it is important you know about them before you pursue Medical Assistance in Dying.
Should you choose to go ahead with Medical Assistance in Dying, you can always change your mind and stop the process any time. If you pursue MAiD, palliative care support is still available to you.
The Process Step by Step
Complete the Patient Request Record form
Once you have decided to pursue Medical Assistance in Dying a Patient Request Record form must be completed. By signing this form, you are formally asking for Medical Assistance in Dying and stating that you believe you meet all the eligibility criteria. You can request a copy of this form from your doctor or nurse practitioner or by visiting the BC Government, Medical Assistance in Dying webpage.
Two assessments are required. These assessments ensure that you are aware of other options, that you meet the criteria for Medical Assistance in Dying and that you have the mental capacity to make this important decision. Two different doctors or nurse practitioners each do a separate assessment. If they are not sure whether you are capable of making the decision, a medical professional with expertise in mental capacity may be consulted.
Complete a 10-day ‘period of reflection’
If the assessment shows you are eligible for Medical Assistance in Dying, federal law requires a 10-day ‘period of reflection’ before Medical Assistance in Dying can take place. This period begins when you complete the Patient Request Record form. The waiting period can be shortened in certain circumstances. You and your doctor or nurse practitioner make this decision together.
Decide where you want Medical Assistance in Dying to take place
During the period of reflection, you can decide where you want Medical Assistance in Dying to take place. This can be in your own home, in a long term care setting, in hospital or another location. You can also decide if you’d like anyone with you when Medical Assistance in Dying is administered.
If you are receiving care from an Island Health program, they can help you arrange support or other services to make you as comfortable as possible.
Requesting MAiD While in Hospital
If you are in hospital, a physician can assess you for MAiD and arrange for a medically assisted death. Inpatients of the Royal Jubilee or Victoria General Hospitals can access MAiD through an in-house referral, assessment and provision service. Contact the MAiD Program at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-727-4382, or ask the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) on your ward for more information.
Medical Assistance in Dying Providers (Physicians and Nurse Practitioners)
Within every health care jurisdiction, including within Island Health, there are physicians (doctors) and nurse practitioners who are willing and able to provide, or help to provide, Medical Assistance in Dying. They can perform one of the two medical assessments and complete the required forms, as well as provide information and support on how to proceed with MAiD.
While we encourage you to discuss your Medical Assistance in Dying wishes with your family doctor or nurse practitioner, you can also contact one of the following Island Health MAiD providers directly:
|Dr. Prean Armogam||250-956-3377||Mt. Waddington/Strathcona|
|Dr. Tanja Daws||250-334-2445||Courtenay|
|Dr Marcia Fukunaga||
|Dr. Stefanie Green||250-592-4710
|Dr. J.M. Henderson||778-430-0980 (Fax)||Victoria|
|Dr. Howard Lee||250-902-6008||Port Hardy|
|Dr. Jonathan Reggler||
|Dr. Meghan Towers||250-802-2762||Ladysmith to Qualicum|
|Dr. Konia Trouton||778-265-9224
Dr Diane Wallis
|250-740-2100 press 3||
|Dr. Gisela Wenzel-Smith||250-597-3390||Duncan|
|Dr. David Whittaker||250-956-3377||Port McNeill|
|Dr. Dorothy Williams||250-216-8342||Port Alberni|
What if my Doctor or Nurse Practitioner Won’t Provide MAiD?
For a variety of reasons, not all doctors and nurse practitioners will provide Medical Assistance in Dying and no one is required by law to do so. You can expect your request for Medical Assistance in Dying to be received in a compassionate and respectful manner, and that you will be referred to an alternative provider if necessary.
Bereavement Resources for Medical Assistance in Dying
Choosing MAiD is a deeply personal decision. When someone close to you has requested Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD), it is common to experience a wide range of feelings and reactions. Even if you are supporting the choice, it is normal to have conflicting thoughts and emotions.
Our Bereavement Guide is available to help you to navigate these feelings in the lead up to your loved one’s assisted death and after your loss.
There is also a Bereavement Support Group for the loved ones left behind to address some of the emotional and existential needs.
Medical Assistance in Dying has been legal in Canada since June 2016 and is governed under federal law. This law sets out the eligibility requirements and processes under which Medical Assistance in Dying can be delivered to a patient. View information provided by the Federal Government.
Contact Island Health’s MAiD program
We are here to help you navigate the Medical Assistance in Dying process. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have
250-727-4382 (Greater Victoria)
Toll Free: 1-877-370-8699