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Home care agencies forced to become euthanasia facilitators

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Centres obligated by government to offer euthanasia supply kit
By Deborah Gyapong
Photo caption: Activists protest against the proposed statutory amendment legalizing the euthanasia of young children in 2014 in Brussels. Canadian community care centres are being forced to offer and supply nursing for euthanasia. (CNS photo/Julien Warnand, EPA) 
Provincially-funded home care agencies are becoming facilitators for patients seeking euthanasia at home instead of in hospital.
The Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) that serves the Ottawa area even posts on its websites the items it offers in a MAID (Medical Aid in Dying) supply kit. CCAC will help coordinate the MAID procedure for eligible patients and supply nursing help and support for the patient, family and caregivers, while the patient’s physician administers the lethal dose.
The CCACs in Ontario, and similar agencies in British Columbia and other provinces, are “being told they have to be involved in this as an agency receiving money from the government,” said Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. “They not only help people get home care or get into nursing homes, they are helping them get lethal injections.”
“It’s being considered an obligation on their part because they receive government money,” Schadenberg said. “People who would normally not be involved with such things at all are now involved in killing people or promoting it.”
He said a lot of people are shocked because they thought they would never be directly involved. “This issue is all encompassing, it’s affecting all of us, all of us are being forced to be involved in it one way or another,” he added.
“We have similar initiatives taking shape, mostly around Montreal and Quebec City,” said Living With Dignity executive director Aubert Martin. “It’s not as organized as it seems to be in Ontario.”
Martin said it is “quite shocking” Quebec is providing services for euthanasia, such as a physician on call who can be paged to provide the service within 24 hours to an eligible person in great pain. The doctor is there “not to help them adjust their pain medication but to answer their request to die.”
Palliative care physicians know patients who have been in great pain for months need 24 hours to get rid of the pain. “Instead of treating the pain, they are killing the patient,” Martin said.
Introducing euthanasia into palliative care and home care means “people are less reassured than they were before,” he said. “They won’t have access to proper pain treatment because of fear.”
Teresa Buonafede of Orangeville, Ontario relies on the CCAC for Personal Support Workers (PSWs) to care for her mother who has Alzheimer’s disease. “They have been so helpful and pleasant to deal with.”
“I am horrified the Community Care Access Centre and Personal Support Workers could in fact be pushing their clients and their families to sign up for home deaths and to actually assist in these deaths,” Buonafede said. “That would not be care and that would not be support; that would be murder.”
“How can we trust these organizations with the care of our family members?” she asked.



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