Increase in requests for medical assistance when dying in Mauricie and Centre-du-Québec

Increase in requests for medical assistance when dying in Mauricie and Centre-du-Québec

In Mauricie and Centre-du-Québec, applications for medical assistance in dying increased, from 18 applications in 2017-2018 to 185 in 2021-2022. An increase that is due, among other things, to better access to justice and the breaking down of certain taboos.

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Physician euthanasia requests have skyrocketed over the past five years as sick people want more control over when they die.

“People no longer want to live as long as possible at any price. There are several values ​​that explain this. People want to avoid suffering, avoid mental and physical suffering and control their illness. There is one study participant who told us that cancer is meant to be in control throughout his life, so he was the one who wanted to control the moment of his death”, explained Maude Hébert, Professor at the Department of Nursing at UQTR.

Among other things, Maude Hébert observed how nurses live with this new role in their profession. Most of them face an ethical dilemma.

“There are some who had to consult so much afterwards that it upset them,” she explained. There is a nurse who was dying at the time medical attention was given. And the fact of bearing life and sharing in death really suited him.

In Mauricie and Centre-du-Québec last year medical euthanasia was mainly provided at home (70) and in hospital centers (67). Only 22 people chose to use it while in a palliative care home and nine in a CHSLD. Since 2016, 31,600 dying people have received medical care nationwide.

The palliative home Albatros also recorded an increase in the number of admissions by around 15% this year and a shorter average length of stay. In addition, there are still knowledge deficits regarding this type of accommodation.

“People think they have to pay. While it’s free. And some think it’s only for the people of Trois-Rivières, that’s wrong too. At the moment we have 4 beds out of 10 beds. We currently have no waiting list,” explains Isabelle Deschênes, Managing Director of Maison Albatros.