Provider budges on med­i­cally as­sisted dy­ing

Faith-based Covenant Health to al­low el­i­gi­bil­ity as­sess­ments, but is opt­ing of the ser­vice

StarMetro Calgary - - CALGARY - AN­DREW JEF­FREY

Pa­tients in Al­berta’s Catholic health-care fa­cil­i­ties will now have eas­ier ac­cess to med­i­cally as­sisted dy­ing as­sess­ments, af­ter Covenant Health re­leased an up­dated pol­icy Mon­day.

The pol­icy clar­i­fies how staff at Canada’s largest Catholic health-care provider will han­dle as­sisted dy­ing re­quests from pa­tients.

While Covenant’s 17 fa­cil­i­ties across the prov­ince still won’t al­low as­sisted dy­ing on site, the new pol­icy will clar­ify that pa­tients will be able to re­ceive el­i­gi­bil­ity as­sess­ments and sign forms with­out leav­ing the build­ing.

The an­nounce­ment comes af­ter a pa­tient at Covenant’s Ed­mon­ton Gen­eral Con­tin­u­ing Care Cen­tre re­port­edly had to sign their as­sisted death as­sess­ment on the side­walk out­side the hospi­tal.

Friends of Medicare ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Sandra Azo­car crit­i­cized Covenant Health for still cre­at­ing bar­ri­ers to le­gal med­i­cal prac­tices, de­spite be­ing pub­licly funded.

“It’s al­low­ing an in­sti­tu­tion to im­pose their be­liefs on to oth­ers and trump the rights of pa­tients,” Azo­car said.

KIERAN LEAVITT/STARMETRO ED­MON­TON

The Mis­eri­cor­dia Hospi­tal in Ed­mon­ton is one of 17 Covenant Health sites in Al­berta that clar­i­fied their med­i­cal as­sis­tance in dy­ing pol­icy.

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