GNWT HSS

Medical Assistance in Dying and End-of-Life Decisions

 

As of June 6, 2016, doctors in the NWT are allowed to provide medical assistance in dying.

 

Our priority is to protect both patients and health care providers involved in medical assistance in dying.  Medical Assistance in Dying Interim Guidelines have been developed to ensure this service is provided in a safe, fair and consistent manner in the Northwest Territories.  

 

The Interim Guidelines will be adapted over the next several weeks to reflect changes to the Criminal Code and to address issues raised by our residents, including doctors.

 

Eligibility Criteria

To access this service, a patient must:

  • be eligible for NWT health services;
  • be at least 18 years of age and capable of making decisions with respect to their health;
  • have a grievous and irremediable medical condition;
  • make a voluntary request for medical assistance in dying that, in particular, is not made as a result of external pressure; and
  • give informed consent to receive medical assistance in dying.

Safeguards

Safeguards have been created to protect patients and health care providers. The safeguards include:

  • assessments by two independent doctors to ensure the patient meets the eligibility criteria;
  • informing the patient of the alternatives to medical assistance in dying;
  • ensuring the patient expressly consents to medical assistance in dying; and
  • requiring a mandatory reflection period before medical assistance in dying is provided. 

The NWT’s Interim Guidelines are available here: 

How do I access medical assistance in dying?

  1. Talk to your doctor about your options for treatment and care. If there is no resident doctor in your community, you can discuss your options with a doctor by distance, such as through Telehealth.
  2. While some doctors may choose not to be involved with medical assistance in dying, they are required to provide you with an information package. 
  3. If you need access to a doctor who is willing and able to provide you with more information or who is willing to participate in the medical assistance in dying process, call the Central Coordinating Service:

 

NWT Central Coordinating Services

Toll Free at 1-855-846-9601

Or direct at 1-867-767-9050 Ext. 49008

Monday - Friday: 8:30am - 5:00pm

 

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