April 2016
News

What you need to know about medical assistance in dying

The College's interim guidance on physician-assisted death (also known as medical assistance in dying) has been updated to clarify nurses’ accountability in providing client care and to address frequent questions from nurses and the public.

The new document, Medical Assistance in Dying: Interim Guidance for Nursing in Ontario replaces the previous one titled Physician-Assisted Death: Interim Guidance for Nursing in Ontario.

The title change reflects language used in the federal Bill C-14.

What's in the document?
The new document explains nurses' accountability for providing safe and ethical care as outlined in a client’s care plan, regardless of the context in which care is being provided. It is important to note that clients who ask about medical assistance in dying should be referred to a physician for further consultation and follow-up.

The document also includes answers to frequently asked questions such as:

  • What is included in the court order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice?

  • Can a nurse still participate in any aspect of the process without authorization from the Superior Court?

  • Can I conscientiously object to medical assistance in dying?

  • What are the current legal criteria for medical assistance in dying?

Stay tuned for updates
Medical Assistance in Dying: Interim Guidance for Nursing in Ontario is intended to support nurses while we wait for the laws to change on June 6, 2016 and/or until federal and provincial governments provide further direction. Until that time, no health care professional may provide medical assistance in dying in Ontario except by order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

The College continues to watch for updates about medical assistance in dying. As we get more information and updates on this issue, we will share them in The Standard, on our Facebook page and on www.cno.org.

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