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12 local facilities object to providing assisted deaths

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The Saskatoon Health Region will be able to accommodate requests for medical assistance in dying (MAID), despite a dozen of its facilities declaring a conscientious objection, board chair Mike Stensrud says.

“The Saskatoon Health Region is a large, multi-facility health care provider. So with being large, we have numerous options that will be made available.”

Among the objecting facilities is St. Paul’s Hospital, which has a 12-bed palliative care unit — the only such dedicated unit in the health region.

The other facilities include Bethany Pioneer Village, Central Haven Special Care Home, Circle Drive Special Care Home, Dalmeny Spruce Manor Special Care Home, Oliver Lodge, Rosthern Mennonite Nursing Home, Samaritan Place, Sherbrooke Community Centre, St. Ann’s Home, St. Joseph’s Home and Warman Mennonite Special Care Home.

The objections are noted in the health region’s MAID policy, which is expected to be presented to the board for approval Wednesday.


The policy recognizes that under the Regional Health Services Act, faith-based institutions are not required to provide health services that are not consistent with the fundamental principles of their faith.

Assessments may take place at faith-based institutions and eligible patients would be transferred to a non-objecting site, according to the submission from legal counsel Evert Van Olst, associate senior medical officer Dr. Robert Weiler and ethicist Dr. Qaiser Fahim.

“Under rare circumstances where a patient is too sick to be transferred discussion on options can occur,” they wrote.

Stensrud said there will never be large numbers of people opting for the service, and many of those who do will want to die in their own homes. MAID teams are able to travel there, he said.

Palliative care also has a role to play, he added.

“I think there’s some truth in the fact that if we do a good enough job with palliative care, most people won’t choose end of life options. But the courts are clear that the system needs to provide that option as well, and the Saskatoon Health Region is going to find a way to accommodate those things.”


Link to the article from the Saskatoon Star Phoenix on December 7th, 2016:

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