December 4, 2017 7:16 pm

Delta hospices say they want no part in medically assisted deaths

WATCH: Bill C-14 has receives royal assent, assisted dying now law

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A group representing Delta facilities providing end of life care says they are no place for doctors to offer medically assisted death.

Fraser Health is currently rolling out medical assistance in dying (MAiD) in a variety of health facilities across the region, including hospices.

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That move has raised the ire of the Delta Hospice Society, whose executive director says hospices are no place for the procedure.

“It’s really a sanctuary for people, it’s purpose built, it’s for the care and comfort,” said Nancy Macey.

“If [patients] know that medically assisted dying can happen in these facilities, it would deter people, I am absolutely sure.”

READ MORE: Assisted-dying in Canada: What you need to know about the new law

People in the Fraser Health region who want medical help taking their own lives must go through a process that includes witnesses to the request, an assessment and a 10-day waiting period to reflect on the decision.

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In an emailed statement, Fraser Health said health authorities across the province have the ability to provide assisted dying in hospitals, homes, residential care and palliative or hospice settings.

It says Fraser Health has been phasing the procedure in across the region, but that there is no hard start date for the procedure to begin at hospices.

From Macey’s perspective, the procedure goes against the philosophy of hospices, and she said she’d rather see it restricted to other facilities.

“Why would you go in an environment where there is a lot of resources put into the psycho-social, spiritual, the physical care and support? That’s what hospices do,” she said.

“Someone that wants medically assist dying, they are not dealing with that. They just want the 15 minute procedure.”

READ MORE: B. C. plaintiff in legal challenge to Canada’s assisted dying laws dies

She added that while Fraser Health has the right to make decisions around MAiD, it failed to consult with hospice societies and the hospice palliative care community.

The federal government legalized medically assisted dying in June 2016.

Between Jan. 1, 2016 and Aug. 31, 2017, 631 medically assisted deaths took place in B.C.

A report from Health Canada earlier this fall found that more than 2,000 Canadians have made the decision since assisted death became legal.

With files from Liza Yuzda

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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