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Considering Medical Assistance in Dying [MAID]



Are you or someone you love is living with a serious illness and thinking about asking their physician about helping them cope with their exit? Here are some things to know if you live in Canada, especially if you live in Alberta. To be eligible for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) you must meet the following criteria:

  • An adult who is competent and;
  • is eligible for health services funded by federal, provincial or territorial government in Canada,
  • has a grievous and irremediable medical condition, and
  • whose natural death has become reasonably foreseeable,
  • has made a voluntary request on the required form(s),
  • has been informed of the treatments including palliative care, technologies and supports available to relieve their suffering,
  • can provide informed consent, and
  • has given written, (signed) consent for the delivery of medical assistance in dying.

Current (July 2020) federal legislation limits MAID to those who remain competent up to the end of their natural life, thus omitting dementia sufferers and anyone with a condition that removes the capacity to provide informed consent up to the moment of death.

Additionally, current legislation has not defined “reasonably foreseeable” and thus has created a foggy area where people suffering from debilitating conditions or are suffering from long tern pain may not qualify for MAID because their death is not imminent.

In late 2019 the federal government undertook a review of the legislation governing MAID and held public consultations with many Canadians online on the subject.  A revision to the legislation is expected sometime this year or early next year that may address competency and the issue of reasonable foreseeability.  A delay in addressing the changes recommended has been caused by the pandemic. Stay tuned. 

For more information on MAID and the services offered by Alberta Health to families and patients, connect here .


Posted in Patient Advocacy

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