Jill Henderson is nearing completion in the Master of Nursing program as she is working thesis study. She is a professor at her local college in the Practical Nursing program, and continues to nurse at the bedside, focusing on palliative care. Her area of research is end-of life care and medical assistance in dying (MAiD). When not working or studying, Jill enjoys spending time with her family, usually at the hockey rink or soccer field with her son.
Title: Accessing Medical Assistance in Dying: A Narrative Review of Nursing and Patient Perspectives
Abstract: The induction of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) in 2016 has altered the landscape of end-of-life (EoL) healthcare planning for patients across Canada. Furthermore, the introduction of MAiD has also made profound impacts on nursing practice in Canada. Despite extensive legal frameworks outlining eligibility requirements for individuals seeking access to MAiD, the frameworks that guide nursing practice related to MAiD are subject to extreme variability nationally. The impact of this variability is not well understood in terms of nursing practices and care. The purpose of this literature review is to explore the lived experiences of patients, their families, as well as nurses who have been involved EoL care, to identify perceived barriers in MAiD care and nursing care throughout the MAiD journey. The literature search was conducted using EBSCO’s unified database search engine. Results were refined to include qualitative peer-reviewed, published articles dated from 2016 onwards. The final literature review included 12 Canadian articles and two European articles. Findings of this narrative review demonstrate that due to role ambiguity set forth by poorly defined nursing roles in MAiD practice frameworks, nurses are reluctant to explore MAiD conversations with patients. This impedes access to MAiD resources and EoL care options. Additionally, both nurses and patient-family groups report faps in nursing care throughout the MAiD journey. These results suggest that renewed efforts are needed to target development of supportive nursing practice tools and strategies to support nurses in developing comfort with engaging in meaningful conversations about MAiD with patients and families.