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Released June 6, 2016, updated July 7, 2016

Medical Assistance in Dying:
What Every Nurse Should Know

On June 17, 2016, the federal government’s Bill C-14 An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying) (“Bill C-14”) received royal assent and became law in Canada. As a result of receiving royal assent, the provisions of Bill C-14 which amend the Criminal Code now form part of the Code, and set out the circumstances when medical assistance is dying will not be considered a criminal offence. In this document, we will also refer to these provisions of Bill C-14 as “the Criminal Code”.

Nurses have always been central care providers in end-of-life care. Now that Bill C-14 has come into effect, what does this mean for nurses in Canada?

 For nurse practitioners:

1)  Now that Bill C-14 has become law, can I provide MAID to my patients?

2)  What if I am not prepared to participate in MAID?

3)  What are the eligibility criteria for MAID?

4)  What other considerations exist when providing MAID?

5)  Can I provide MAID to mature minors or children?

6)  Can I provide MAID in the context of an advance directive?

7)  Can I be part of a MAID team consisting of multiple health professionals with the sole purpose of providing MAID services to patients?

8)  Can I provide information to my patients about MAID now that Bill C-14 has become law?

For registered nurses (and other nursing professions):

1)  Now that Bill C-14 is law, what does this mean for RNs?

2)  What other considerations exist with respect to MAID?

3)  What if I am not prepared to participate in MAID?

4)  As an RN, can I provide information to my patients about MAID?

5)  Can I still provide nursing care to patients at the end-of-life?

6)  As an RN, can I be part of a MAID team consisting of multiple health professionals with the sole purpose of providing MAID services to patients?

General Q & A: More answers to some pressing questions for NPs and RNs*

1)  What is the difference between “physician-assisted death” and “medical assistance in dying”?

2)  If my province or territory issued a statement regarding exemption from criminal prosecution for participating in MAID, is that statement still valid given the coming into force of Bill C-14?

3)  Can I still provide nursing care to patients at the end-of-life?

4)  Can I provide information about assisted death?

5)  Will I be considered to be “assisting” in the provision of MAID simply by being present in the room while the patient is being prepared and the substance is administered?

6)  Can I undertake work in helping to draft policies and procedures for MAID in the institution in which I work?

7)  What if I am not prepared to participate in MAID?

* If you have more questions that are not addressed in this briefing, please send them to us at info@cnps.ca, and we will include the answers in an updated version.

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Released June 6, 2016, updated July 7, 2016

Medical Assistance in Dying:
What Every Nurse Should Know

On June 17, 2016, the federal government’s Bill C-14 An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying) (“Bill C-14”) received royal assent and became law in Canada. As a result of receiving royal assent, the provisions of Bill C-14 which amend the Criminal Code now form part of the Code, and set out the circumstances when medical assistance is dying will not be considered a criminal offence. In this document, we will also refer to these provisions of Bill C-14 as “the Criminal Code”.

Nurses have always been central care providers in end-of-life care. Now that Bill C-14 has come into effect, what does this mean for nurses in Canada?

 For nurse practitioners:

1)  Now that Bill C-14 has become law, can I provide MAID to my patients?

2)  What if I am not prepared to participate in MAID?

3)  What are the eligibility criteria for MAID?

4)  What other considerations exist when providing MAID?

5)  Can I provide MAID to mature minors or children?

6)  Can I provide MAID in the context of an advance directive?

7)  Can I be part of a MAID team consisting of multiple health professionals with the sole purpose of providing MAID services to patients?

8)  Can I provide information to my patients about MAID now that Bill C-14 has become law?

For registered nurses (and other nursing professions):

1)  Now that Bill C-14 is law, what does this mean for RNs?

2)  What other considerations exist with respect to MAID?

3)  What if I am not prepared to participate in MAID?

4)  As an RN, can I provide information to my patients about MAID?

5)  Can I still provide nursing care to patients at the end-of-life?

6)  As an RN, can I be part of a MAID team consisting of multiple health professionals with the sole purpose of providing MAID services to patients?

General Q & A: More answers to some pressing questions for NPs and RNs*

1)  What is the difference between “physician-assisted death” and “medical assistance in dying”?

2)  If my province or territory issued a statement regarding exemption from criminal prosecution for participating in MAID, is that statement still valid given the coming into force of Bill C-14?

3)  Can I still provide nursing care to patients at the end-of-life?

4)  Can I provide information about assisted death?

5)  Will I be considered to be “assisting” in the provision of MAID simply by being present in the room while the patient is being prepared and the substance is administered?

6)  Can I undertake work in helping to draft policies and procedures for MAID in the institution in which I work?

7)  What if I am not prepared to participate in MAID?

* If you have more questions that are not addressed in this briefing, please send them to us at info@cnps.ca, and we will include the answers in an updated version.

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