Langley’s Conservative MP says hospice shouldn’t have to provide assisted suicide

B.C. health authorities have said medical assistance in dying (MAiD) must be available in hospices.

Langley-Aldergrove MP Mark Warawa said physicians and volunteers are resigning over Fraser Health’s policy to require assisted suicide and euthanasia in hospice facilities.

The only physician he could point to was a palliative care specialist with the Delta Hospice Society, but said the policy change in December will have an impact on physicians, volunteers and donations to hospice facilities.

Warawa noted that a significant amount of funding for the Langley Hospice Society comes from private donors.

“And I’m one of those donors, and I am really thankful to be able to support hospice care that neither hastens nor postpones death,” he said.

Fraser Health funds the hospice residence near Langley Memorial Hospital where terminally ill people are able to receive care. The society has offices and space for its various bereavement programs at 20660 48th Ave. and has a contract with Fraser Health to provide volunteers for the residence.

The local hospice society board meets next week to craft a response to Fraser Health over the decision to have hospice facilities provide medically assisted dying.

“Our volunteers are very concerned and we may lose some due to this MAiD directive,” LHS executive director Nancy Panchuk said. “Donors are beginning to discuss withdrawal of their support to the society again due to this directive. “

She explained that the operation of the Supportive Program Centre on 48th Avenue is funded through private donations, the hospice society thrift store, gaming and various other grants.

Warawa said Health Canada is going through consultations with the provinces on how to provide medical assistance in dying (MAiD) and B.C. jumped the gun by making this policy change before those consultations were done.

Asked BC NDP Health Min @adriandix to reverse dangerous new mandate to force Hospice Care facilities to give assisted suicide. Dangerous because "Hospice is not to prevent or hasten death."

— Mark Warawa (@MPmarkwarawa) January 30, 2018

But Fraser Health said it and all health authorities in B.C. support MAiD services in all settings, including hospice.

“When a patient has made this decision, we need to consider how to offer it in the most patient centred way we can,” said spokesperson Tasleem Juma.

Since 2016 Canadians with terminal illnesses have had the right to choose to end their lives. Warawa said they have that right but MAiD should not take place in hospice and palliative care facilities.

“They have that legal right and they should be respected and honoured in that process,” he said. “But it just should not be happening in a hospice facility.”

The average time spent in hospice is about two weeks so people there are already near death, he noted.

People can be transferred to other facilities for MAiD just like they would be if they needed other medical proceduries like an x-ray, he added. About 30 per cent of physicians have said they are willing to provide assisted death so there are professionals available, Wawara said.

But the health authority needs to respect the mandate of hospice to not hasten nor postpone death, Warawa commented.

“We took a phased approach to the implementation of MAiD, and have been providing this service in our hospitals, community settings and residential care facilities for some time,” Juma said. “Though there is no hard and fast date for palliative and hospice care, in December of last year, we proceeded with the final phase of supporting MAiD provision in hospices and palliative care settings.”

Medical Assistance Dying Interim Report by hcolpitts on Scribd

During the first six months of 2017, British Columbia recorded 312 assisted deaths with 28 per cent taking place in hospital, 51 per cent in the patient’s home, eight per cent in a long term care facility, and nine per cent in other (defined as “palliative care hospice; clinician office; facility; undisclosed” by Health Canada).

The average age of those who used MAiD was 74.6 in B.C. compared to the national average of 73. Cancer was the main reason.

During the first six months of 2017, there were:

• 10 cases for ages 18-45,

• 14 for those 46-55,

• 41 for ages 56-64,

• 55 for people 65-70,

• 47 for ages 71-75,

• 42 for ages 76-80,

• 36 for people 81-85,

• 33 for ages 86-90 and

• 34 for those 91 or older.

“Across the country, there were 1,179 medically assisted deaths between January 1, 2017 and June 30, 2017, accounting for approximately 0.9 per cent of all deaths in Canada during that time frame,” according to Health Canada.


Just Posted

DESIGN AN AD: Langley kids’ creativity pulls on heart strings

The insightfulness and attention to details captured in kids’ ads is ‘mind-blowing’ to adults.

PHOTOS: Grieving Langley widower, with teen boy, shares a story of angels

Walnut Grove’s Rick Rozdeba’s hospice story evoked tears and brought the crowd to its feet.

Fort Langley is open for business

Challenges abound, but local merchants are looking forward to summer.

Chilliwack RCMP seek shoplifting suspect caught on video

Man allegedly connected to automobile theft in Abbotsford, shoplifting in Langley

RCMP seeks dash cam footage in Cloverdale hit and run

RCMP believe same Acura TL involved in two accidents within minutes of each other

VIDEO: B.C. man recognized for spinning basketball on toothbrush

Abbotsford man holds world record for longest duration of time of 60.5 seconds

Former Social Credit MLA dies at 88

Lyall Hanson was mayor of Vernon in 1981 and moved to provincial politics from 1986-96

The simple beauty of a barn

Architect’s labour of love wins award from Architecture Institute of BC

B.C. set to introduce pot laws, but years of fine tuning likely: minister

Legislation regulating recreational marijuana is expected to be introduced Thursday

Canadian driver uses lawn chair as driver’s seat, gets caught

Ontario police detachment caught the male driver during a traffic stop

B.C. moves to restrict pill presses in opioid battle

Minister Mike Farnworth says federal law doesn’t go far enough

UPDATE: 83-year-old convicted murderer back in custody

RCMP have captured Ralph Whitfield Morris who escaped from Mission Institution

VIDEO: Vets, volunteers set up vaccination station for sick bunnies

Volunteers, vets try to stop spread of lethal virus

If you see a dog in a hot car, don’t break in: SPCA

People are being discouraged from smashing windows to free animals. The SPCA has tips on what else you can do.

Most Read