Medical Assistance in Dying: Frequently Asked Questions for Public
Updated March 6, 2019
Death and dying can be difficult subjects to talk about. If you are thinking about medical assistance in dying, talk to someone who can help inform you about your potential options: a doctor, nurse practitioner or other health care provider. The following questions and answers will give you some basic information about medical assistance in dying.
Please review the information below and call 902-491-5892, if you have any questions.
What is medical assistance in dying?
Who can have medical assistance in dying?
- You are eligible to receive provincial health services. You have a valid Nova Scotia health card.
- You are at least 18 years of age.
- No one is pressuring or influencing you to choose to die, or has done so at any time.
- Your doctor or NP has diagnosed you with a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability.
- You are in an advanced state of decline that cannot be reversed.
- You suffer unbearably from your medical condition. You are not able to find relief in a way that is acceptable to you.
- Your doctor(s) and/or NP(s) have told you that you can expect to die in the near future. They may not have given a specific length of time.
- You are capable of making decisions about your health.
Can I change my mind?
What is the process to have medical assistance in dying?
Preparing for death and dying can be very hard. First, talk to your doctor or NP about your options. These options could include medical treatments, a referral to a palliative care specialist/team, psychological support, spiritual care and/or medical assistance in dying.
2 - Submit a request in writing
- Know of or believe that they are a beneficiary of the will of the person making the request, or a recipient, in any way, of financial or other material benefit resulting from that person’s death.
- Are an owner or operator of any health care facility treating the person making the request is being treated
- Are an owner or operator of any facility in which the person making the request lives
- Are directly involved in health care services for the person making the request
- Directly provide personal care to the person making the request.
- providing a diagnosis and prognosis of your condition
- assessing your capacity to make your health care decision
- confirm that you are still capable of making this choice
- get your final consent to go ahead
If I lose capacity during the 10-day waiting period, can I still receive medical assistant in dying?
Where does medical assistance in dying take place?
We will make sure medical assistance in dying is provided in a timely way, as close to your home as possible. It can take place in your home, if there are doctors or NPs able to provide this service in your area. It can also take place in an NSHA facility or a hospice (where available). We will work with you to find a location that ensures privacy, safety and a peaceful setting.
Can I change mind about going ahead with medical assistance in dying?
Which health care providers are involved in medical assistance in dying?
How should I prepare for death and dying?
What other options are there to lessen my suffering and/or provide end-of-life medical care?
- provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms
- helps people manage symptoms and address physical, emotional and spiritual concerns
- supports families
- enhances quality of life and help patients live as actively as possible
- prepares people for death, and
- offers bereavement support to loved ones
Can I ask for medical assistance in dying in my advance care plan/personal directive?
Can someone else ask for medical assistance in dying for me?
Must my family be consulted about my decision?
Will my decision about medical assistance in dying be kept private?
Is there a fee to request or have medical assistance in dying?
Where can I learn more about medical assistance in dying?