Covenant Health
This week's reflection

This week's reflection

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.

Marcus Aurelius

MAID policy Revision

December 03, 2018

In early November, Covenant Health made a commitment to review its policy on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID). In the two years since the legislation was enacted, the process has evolved and the organization has learned a great deal through interactions with patients, residents, families, physicians and staff. It was time to review the policy to ensure it was keeping pace with current experience in the system.

Covenant’s commitment to journey with all patients, residents and their families through challenging and difficult times continues to be the focus. And its mission to serve with compassion and without judgment remains the guiding principle.

Covenant Health undertook extensive consultation in the review process including discussions with over 100 individuals and groups including clinicians, operations leaders, Catholic bishops, Alberta Health Services (AHS), Alberta Health (AH), patient advisors, families, ethicists, community members and other stakeholders in alignment with the usual process for policy review. Stakeholder input and feedback was invaluable in helping in the revision of the policy to clarify the process and more clearly reflect the organization’s current experience.

The revised policy is now complete. It is available here.

Revisions to the policy involve improved clarity related to how Covenant Health responds to requests for MAID and the assessment process once those requests are received. It continues to ensure timely, appropriate access to services while respecting everyone’s rights.

Additional revisions include: improved clarity related to charting, documentation, regulatory and legal requirements; and enhanced transparency around the roles of Covenant Health and AHS in the MAID process. The new policy clearly articulates AHS’s role for all aspects of the MAID process.

While Covenant Health does not participate in the provision of MAID, we recognize that assessments of eligibility involving such medically fragile and vulnerable individuals contemplating MAID, as well as other end of life options including palliative care, will happen in our facilities and in an appropriate clinical setting.

In fact, our revised policy reflects what we’ve already experienced with MAID; in the last year, our records show that all those who were actively exploring MAID had their assessment completed in our facilities, with due attention to the patient and resident’s total care needs. 

This refreshed policy removes confusion around that process and reflects the reality of current experience in caring for those seeking assessment.

Covenant Health will continue to monitor its response to MAID requests as the issue evolves over time and as new legislative or regulatory requirements are enacted.

As it always has, Covenant Health will continue to ensure all patients have information about and access to high quality, compassionate palliative care to support their end of life journey.

Many questions remain about MAID and the role Covenant Health plays in the process. Covenant CEO Patrick Dumelie responds to the most frequently asked questions in a number of short videos which can be viewed here.

Covenant Health wishes to thank all those who participated in the policy review. MAID can be an emotionally charged issue and it is one which will continue to evolve over time. As it does, Covenant Health will regularly review its policies and procedures to ensure timely, appropriate, compassionate care to patients, residents and their families.