Medically assistance in dying, or Bill C14 was passed in June 2016. File photo, Black Press

Doctors’ talk in Campbell River provides chance to discuss end-of-life care

Hospice event will examine palliative care as well as medical assistance in dying

As physicians, Dr. Willem Prinsloo and Dr. Tanja Daws were coming at questions around the end of life from different points of view.

Daws was an advocate for the now-legal Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD). Prinsloo, who works in palliative care, describes himself as one of those opposed to the idea, for fear it was pushing out palliative care as an option for people nearing death.

As time has gone on though, both realize they have more in common and that MAiD is as part of the whole discussion for terminally ill people.

“It’s not necessarily pitting one option against another option,” Prinsloo says.

On the evening of April 18, the two will be speaking at the Ask the Doctor Night event for the Campbell River Hospice Society at the North Island College Theatre from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets are available online.

RELATED STORY: Veteran hospice doctor credits Campbell River community for its thriving program

The event is designed to be a community conversation both around palliative care and MAiD, with Prinsloo focusing on the former and Daws on the latter.

Hospice clarifies the event is intended to provide a safe environment for discussing these difficult questions and is not to be a political discussion

Prinsloo will discuss out-patient or stay-at-home options along with in-hospital care, including pain and symptom management.

“I will just be defining what the definition of palliative care is,” he says.

He will discuss the consultation process and the involvement of family physicians. Finally, he will address decision-making around which patients are appropriate for available hospice beds – in other words, those that cannot stay at home but prefer a more home-like environment.

Prinsloo admits he was skeptical of MAiD in the past for fear it would be used to undermine palliative service or be used to highlight any possible shortcomings of palliative care. Now, he sees it as part of the multi-disciplinary approach necessary when working with people facing their end of their lives rather a reflection of palliative care quality.

Vancouver Island has a high rate of people choosing MAiD since it became legal in Canada in 2016, even higher than places such as the Netherlands, which could point to demographic factors such as an aging population but also a sympathetic philosophical environment for addressing end-of-life questions.

RELATED STORY: Next Campbell River Philosopher’s Café discusses: why would people choose to die?

Daws emphasizes the program is patient-friendly.

“Whatever we do is whatever suits the patient,” she says.

She says MAiD offers a way to improve quality of life at the end, but she points out some people, once they know it is now an option and that they need not prolong suffering, actually choose not to go through with MAiD.

Some of her talk will focus on legal issues, as she says there is a strict legal structure that has to be followed. The process also can involve spiritual care, patient support groups and family members.

“It’s rare for me to see a patient without a family member in the room,” she says.

RELATED STORY: A personal look at assisted dying

Because MAiD is still new, some people are apprehensive in talking about it, so the local hospice society hopes to provide an opportunity for people to learn more. For more information, see www.crhospice.ca.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Alcohol and speed not ruled out as factors in fatal crash north of Campbell River

Highway 19 reopened Sunday night after being closed in both directions

PHOTOS: Storm split weekend effort at the Brindy

After home stand, Campbell River to head on the road Saturday

Global Climate Strike comes to Campbell River

Rally and march to be held at Spirit Square on Sept. 20

NIC Artist Talk Series to kick off with abstract artist

Vancouver-based Fiona Ackerman to speak at Comox Valley campus on Sept. 26

Local volleyball star finishes 14th alongside national team at worlds

Emoni Bush competed with Canada at U18 World Championships in Egypt

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Island campground on the chopping block as ALC deadline looms

Owners fighting to continue facility’s operation, with a huge outpouring of support

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

Free Tesla 3 offered with purchase of Surrey townhome

Century Group’s offer for Viridian development runs through Oct. 31

B.C. communities urged to improve access for disabled people

One in four B.C. residents has disability, most want to work

Sikh millworker lodges human rights complaint against Interfor, again

Mander Sohal, fired from Delta’s Acorn Mill, alleges discrimination based on religion and disability

UVic students killed in Bamfield bus crash were from Winnipeg, Iowa City

Authorities said the two victims were a man and a woman, both aged 18

Safety concerns resurface after fatal bus crash on Vancouver Island

Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants a safe route between Bamfield and Port Alberni

Most Read