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Nurse practitioners not always compensated for providing medical assistance in dying

The Nurse Practitioners Association of Ontario says some of its members are helping to provide their patients with medically assisted deaths without compensation.

It wasn’t until April of 2017 that nurse practitioners (NPs) in Ontario could prescribe the controlled substances used for medical assistance in dying (MAID).

Since then about 40 NPs across the province have provided either patient assessments or the procedure itself.

A patient must be assessed by two independent health care providers. This can be either a physician or a nurse practitioner. The procedure is the same regardless of who provides it.

One nurse practitioner in Sudbury, Ont. says it’s important for her to provide support to patients who want to take this step. She admits that medical assistance in dying is rather limited in Sudbury, in that not a lot of physicians or nurse practitioners are willing to provide it for patients.

CBC agreed to withhold her identity because she fears judgment from colleagues who don’t support her position.

“For me, I think what’s important is a person’s autonomy, their dignity and their own fate. Who am I to judge?,” she said.

Over the past year she says she’s been involved with between eight to ten cases of MAID, either in Sudbury or nearby. Most of those were in an assessment capacity.

“When a person is diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and they know with a fair degree of certainty that end-of-life is approaching, how they want that to be, I believe, is a patient’s choice,” she said.

She says two male patients in particular stick in her mind as patients who she felt medical assistance in dying was the right option.

“Their disease was really taking away who they were as a person, their autonomy, their suffering,” she said.

“Despite how good palliative care is you can not address that

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