Oncologists and medical assistance in dying: Where do we stand? Conference Paper uri icon

  •  
  • Overview
  •  
  • Research
  •  
  • Identity
  •  
  • Additional Document Info
  •  
  • View All
  •  

abstract

  • 64 Background: With the passage of Bill C-14 in June 2016, medical assistance in dying (MAiD) was formally enacted into Canadian law. Since then, approximately 2,000 patients have died with medical assistance across the country, with cancer being the most common qualifying condition. We aimed to understand the views of oncology providers (OPs) regarding MAiD. Methods: We designed and administered an online survey to Canadian OPs’ to assess experience with MAiD, self-perceived knowledge, willingness to participate, and perception of the role of OPs in introducing MAiD as an end-of-life care option. We used complete sampling via the Canadian Association of Medical Oncologists (CAMO) and the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncologists (CARO) membership email lists. The survey was sent to 366 Radiation Oncologists, and 325 Medical Oncologists. Data was collected from April-June 2018. Results were analyzed using descriptive statistics as well as univariate and multivariate analysis. Results: We received 224 responses (response rate 32.4%). 70% of OPs have been approached by patients requesting MAiD. OPs were confident in their knowledge of the eligibility criteria, and previous exposure to MAiD was associated with confidence in this domain (odds ratio [OR]=3.77, 95% CI=2.05-6.94, p value<0.001). OPs were most willing to engage in MAiD with an assessment for eligibility, yet most refer to specialized teams for assessments. A majority of physicians (52.8%) would initiate a conversation of MAiD with a patient under certain circumstances, most commonly the absence of viable therapeutic options, coupled with unmanageable patient distress. Conclusions: In this first national survey of Canadian OP’s regarding MAiD, we found that most OP’s encounter patient requests for MAiD, are confident in knowledge of eligibility, and are willing to act as assessors of eligibility. Many OP’s believe that it is appropriate to present MAiD as a therapeutic option at the end of life under some circumstances. This finding warrants further deliberation amongst national/regional bodies for the development of consensus guidelines in order to ensure equitable access to MAiD for patients who wish to pursue it.

publication date

  • December 1, 2018