April 2, 2012 (Ottawa, ON) – The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) is optimistic about many of the recommendations put forth in the Special Commission on Dying with Dignity’s (Commission spéciale sur la question de mourir dans la dignité) report, Dying with Dignity. On March 22, the Committee made 24 recommendations to the Minister of Health and Social Services as to how end-of-life care should be improved in Quebec. Among the recommendations, the CHPCA applauds those focused on the further development of hospice palliative care in Quebec; these include improved training for hospice palliative care professionals, earlier access to hospice palliative care for patients, and the implementation of end-of-life care policy in Quebec.
The CHPCA commends the Committee for their efforts and inclusion of recommendations around improving the quality and delivery of hospice palliative care in Quebec. The Commission conducted extensive hearings with hospice palliative care professionals across Quebec to ensure that all viewpoints were equally represented. The resulting report is a strong first step towards implementing standardized hospice palliative care in Quebec so that all patients may have the highest quality of life and quality of dying
Among the recommendations however, were several advocating for the legalization of physician assisted death**, should the patient request. “Many of the Committee’s recommendations show a positive future for hospice palliative care in Quebec,” stated Sharon Baxter, Executive Director of the CHPCA, “however we need to have a clear distinction between hospice palliative care and physician assisted death. Physician assisted death should not be considered a part of or linked to hospice palliative care ideology or practice.”
The CHPCA believes that hospice palliative care is about ensuring a good death for all Canadians through an interdisciplinary approach that includes pain and symptom management, psychological support, spiritual care, bereavement care, and much more to address the suffering of patients and their families.
Should a legislation allowing physician assisted death be passed by the Quebec government in the future, the dedicated and committed personnel who work in hospice palliative care should not be expected to participate in this practice.
Right now, only 16% of Canadians who die have access to or receive hospice palliative, and quality end-of-life care services. The CHPCA wants to ensure that all Canadians have the highest quality of life as they live with a life limiting or terminal illness. Too many Canadians die with suffering that could be addressed in a more effective manner. The CHPCA believes that we need to have a greater focus on quality end of life care and the right to high quality hospice palliative care at the end of life for all Canadians as we enter into the debate around the contentious issue of physician assisted death.
**incorporates both terms “euthanasia” and “assisted suicide”
For further information, please contact:
Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association
Phone: 613-241-3663 ext: 229
The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association — the national voice for hospice palliative care in Canada – is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in care for persons approaching death so that the burdens of suffering, loneliness and grief are lessened. The CHPCA operates in close partnership with other national organizations and continues to work to ensure that all Canadians, regardless of where they may live, have equal access to quality hospice palliative care services for themselves and their family.