Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence (VSPCR) responds to province’s end-of-life bill
Home’s mission not changing
The Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence Foundation has responded to Quebec’s newly adopted and controversial end-of-life bill in a bid to clear up any confusion about the mandate the home is standing by.
The home’s foundation also made it clear that medically assisted dying will not be offered at the Hudson-based facility.
In a June 18 press release the VSPCRF said it felt it was necessary to take a stand following the adoption of Quebec’s Bill 52.
‘The Board of Directors, doctors and clinical staff of the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence would like to clarify that the new legislation does not change the care offered to date, for terminally ill patients,’ the release read in part.
‘Based on Article 13 of Bill 52 which allows different palliative care settings to choose to practice medically assisted dying, the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence wishes to inform the population of Vaudreuil-Soulanges and the surrounding area that medically assisted dying is not a service that will be offered within the Residence.’
The home will nevertheless offer ‘comfort, care and compassion,’ to anyone considering medically assisted death.
They will also be ‘directed to the appropriate resources, should they wish to pursue their decision.’
Taking a stand
The doctors including one founding doctor, Sylvie Dufresne, and administrators including Richard Mainville, further clarified the foundation’s stance during the following interview:
Q:Why did the VSPCR feel it was necessary to clarify its point of view regarding the bill?
A:The (home) needs to clarify its role in relation to Bill 52 so that there is no confusion about the care provided to the population. Would the bill potentially put the home in a new roll if people wanted to come there to end their own lives?
No. The medical assistance to die is not practiced at the VSPCR. The house will continue to provide palliative care with dignity and respect for the person.
Q: How is the end-of-life bill different from the kind of care offered at the home?
A: To medically assist someone to die is to administer a medication that causes death. Palliative care offered at the home includes comfort care where medication is used to relieve symptoms until the end. What we are saying is that while medically assisted dying will not be offered at the home, anyone wanting our support or our counseling will be directed to the right resources.
Q: Are such resources offered at the home?
A: The person who takes steps to get medical aid in dying has, in our view, the right to obtain palliative comfort care by the VSPCR. If, however, his or her desire to get medical help to die persists, we will direct them to the appropriate resources with the help of CSSS Vaudreuil-Soulanges, when the time comes.
Q: Do you support the new bill?
A: The foundation and the home do not support any medical assistance to die.
Q: Are there implications of the bill that trouble you?
A: The main concern is that the public does not associates the hospice with any medical intervention that causes death. We offer care to accompany people at the end of life.
Since opening in September 2010, the Hudson hospice has helped more than 500 people at the end of their lives. The home’s doctors, professionals, support staff and volunteers say they will continue their mission of providing specialized palliative care with respect and dignity to people of all ages with a terminal illness. Palliative care must continue to be part of a continuum of care and not be related to medically assisted dying, they stress.