Background: Options available to Canadians at the end of life increased with the legalization of medical assistance in dying (MAiD). Bill C-14 modified the Canadian Criminal Code allowing individuals who meet very specific criteria to receive a medical intervention to hasten their death. June 2019 marked 3 years since the legislation has changed and while met with favour from most Canadians who believe it will provide enhanced options for quality of life at the end of life, there remains much debate over both its moral implications and practical components. Little is known regarding the Canadian healthcare provider experience with MAiD, in particular in rural and remote parts of the country such as northwestern Ontario.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to explore physicians' experiences in Northwestern Ontario with MAiD. The geographic location of this study is of particular significance as physicians in rural and remote parts of Canada face unique challenges in the provision of high-quality palliative and end-of-life services. This qualitative research focused on developing a better understanding of physicians' perceptions and practices with MAiD, in particular regarding access, decision-making, provision of service and role clarity.
Methods: The researchers employed an exploratory qualitative research approach, using 1 semi-structured focus group and 18 semi-structured interviews comprising 9 set of questions. Data were collected through audio-taped semi-structured interviews, in person and by telephone.
Findings: Four distinct but interconnected themes emerged from thematic analysis of the transcripts of the focus group and interviews: physician perception of patient awareness, appreciation and understanding of MAiD; challenges providing true choice at end of life; burgeoning relationships between palliative care and MAiD; and physician recommendations.
Conclusion: The results of this study provide a snapshot of the Northwestern physician experiences with MAiD and contribute to the growing body of work exploring these issues on a national scale. MAiD is highlighted as both a rewarding and challenging experience for physicians in Northwestern Ontario in this study.
As lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) communities age, many individuals expect a need to enter the long-term care system toward the end of life. Not unlike most aging Canadians, this anticipation is met with concern and fear. However, previous research suggests that older LGBTQ + individuals have unique fears often related to personal safety and discrimination. This qualitative study examined the hopes and fears of older LGBTQ + adults considering long-term care as they face end of life. Data were collected from three focus groups in Ontario, Canada, and analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Specific and frequent reference to fear of entering long-term care homes was common across all focus groups, as participants anticipated: social isolation, decreased independence and capacity for decision-making, increased vulnerability to LGBTQ+-related stigma as well as exposure to unsafe social and physical environments. The results from this study, therefore, emphasize the need for palliative care specialists and long-term care home staff to address the unique health needs of older LGBTQ + adults nearing the end of life in order to work toward allaying fears and creating supportive and inclusive long-term care environments.
Canada is experiencing population aging, and given the heterogeneity of older adults, there is increasing diversity in late life. The purpose of this study was to help fill the research gaps on LGBT aging and end-of-life. Through focus groups, we sought to better understand the lived experience of older LGBT individuals and to examine their concerns associated with end-of-life. Our analysis highlights the idea that identifying as LGBT matters when it comes to aging and end-of-life care. In particular, gender identity and sexual orientation matter when it comes to social connections, in the expectations individuals have for their own care, and in the unique fear related to staying out of the closet and maintaining identity throughout aging and end-of-life. This study underscores the need to consider gender identity and sexual orientation at end-of-life. In particular, recognition of intersectionality and social locations is crucial to facilitating positive aging experiences and end-of-life care.