There are often a number of reasons why someone might choose MAiD. The most common reasons are:
An individual does not have to be dying to be eligible but they do have to be suffering (physical or emotional pain, or both) and in an advance state of decline in capacity.
For more details visit our page on eligibility
No, MAiD and palliative care are not the same.
No. MAiD has been provided in various locations including a health facility, funeral home, home, and even outdoors on private land (although Parks Canada also has a MAiD policy allowing MAiD in some parks in certain circumstances).
No. Life insurance and Canada Pension Plan are not affected by MAiD for those individuals who have a reasonably foreseeable death. We advise Canadians to seek advice from their insurance carrier.
Once the person has consented to go ahead, the MAiD practitioner will often move to a different room or space to complete paperwork and get the medications ready. The MAiD practitioner or a nurse will insert a needle into the vein (IV). The person and those present will be given privacy if they wish to say their final goodbyes. The MAiD practitioners will help those present be in the positions the person would like, e.g. lying next to them, holding hands, in sight or out of sight.
Whenever the person is ready the MAiD practitioner will ask again if they want to go ahead and if they do, they will begin to put the medications through the IV:
Even if it appears that the person has died, all the drugs will be given. The MAiD practitioner will listen for heart sounds with their stethoscope and let those present know that the person has died. The body will become cool to the touch and the colour of the body will change as time passes.
It usually takes between 5 and 20 minutes to give all the medications, and for the heart to stop. Many people die in the first few minutes because they are so ill.
Although those who provide MAiD do their best to prepare those present for the sudden change in the person from being alert to no longer alive, some people are surprised by how quickly the person dies. Most assisted deaths have been described by healthcare professionals and families who have been present as painless and peaceful.
Although it is legal in Canada to have a self-administered medically assisted death (where the person takes prescribed medication by mouth themselves), this is still rare in Canada. In many provinces and territories, the only type of assisted death that is available is where the physician or nurse practitioner gives the medications through IV.
In Canada, two types of MAiD are allowed:
The vast majority of MAiD provisions in Canada are done when the clinician administers the substance.
No. First of all, not all provinces allow nurse practitioners to be involved.
Secondly, the law respects that not all clinicians are supportive of MAiD and so does not compel them to provide this care. Most jurisdictions require a clinician who does not provide MAiD to make a referral. If you need support, please visit MAiD Resources in your Province / Territory
No. There is no obligation to follow through and have an assisted death. Individuals are free to change their mind at any time, including the day the MAiD is planned to occur.
The individual may ask for a second opinion.
Much of this content is drawn from the great work by our friends at Virtual Hospice. View their terrific site at www.virtualhospice.ca/maid