Medical Assistance in Dying

We respect our patients’ right to make informed decisions about their care and treatment options. That includes the option to choose medical assistance in dying, as allowed by law.

The documents below provide answers to some of the most common questions about medical assistance in dying. Information about this topic is changing frequently. We will update this website as information changes.

Access to Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) in Nova Scotia during COVID-19

Medical Assistance in Dying, or MAiD, is an option for those who meet a very specific set of criteria that have been established in Canadian law.  In order to be considered for MAiD, a person must:

  • Be eligible for health services funded by a provincial or territorial government in Canada.
  • Be at least 18 years of age and capable of making decisions with respect to their health.
  • Have a ‘grievous and irremediable’ medical condition.  Practically speaking, this means that:
    • they have a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability,
    • they are in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability,
    • the illness, disease or disability or state of decline causes them enduring physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable to them and that cannot be relieved under conditions that they consider acceptable,
    • Their death must be reasonably foreseeable
  • Make a voluntary written request for MAiD.
  • Give informed consent to receive MAiD after having been informed of the means that are available to relieve their suffering, including Palliative Care.

Only persons who meet ALL of the above criteria are eligible to be assessed for MAiD.

We are living in challenging times.  In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, people may be having trouble coping.  This can sometimes result in significant anxiety, depression and other symptoms that can be difficult to manage, but do not in themselves meet the criteria for MAiD.  If you are experiencing these symptoms and you would like to speak with someone, help is available.  The following health professionals are trained to assist you:

811 Health Line

811 or 866-770-7763

Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team

902-429-8167 or 1-888-429-8167

NSHA and IWK Mental Health Intake Line

902-424-8866 or 1-866-340-6700

Canadian Mental Health Association NS Division

902-466-6600 or 1-877-466-6606

 

Nova Scotians who are seeking information about MAiD can discuss this with their primary care provider or a specialist.  They may also contact the Nova Scotia Health Authority MAiD Care Coordination Office, toll free at 1-833-903-6243, or 902-491-5892 within the Halifax region.  The Office email address is:  maid@nshealth.ca.  Voicemail and email messages will receive a reply within 48 working hours.

Further details are also available on the NSHA website at:  http://www.nshealth.ca/about-us/medical-assistance-dying

 

Contact Information

If you have questions about MAiD, please call 902-491-5892.​

Nova Scotians who are seeking information about MAiD can discuss this with their primary care provider or a specialist.  They may also contact the Nova Scotia Health Authority MAiD Care Coordination Office, toll free at 1-833-903-6243, or 902-491-5892 within the Halifax region.  The Office email address is:  maid@nshealth.ca.  Voicemail and email messages will receive a reply within 48 working hours.

Further details are also available on the NSHA website at:  http://www.nshealth.ca/about-us/medical-assistance-dying

FAQ for the public

FAQ for doctors and nurse practitioners

FAQ for care professionals

Forms and Documents

Reporting

MAiD Numbers 2016 – May 5, 2020

Year

Referrals

MAID Completed

Active

Natural Death Before MAiD *

Died Before MAiD **

Patient Lost Capacity

Does Not Meet Criteria

Patient Hold

Referral Cancelled

2016

36

24

0

0

0

8

1

0

3

2017

136

62

1

22

20

10

5

1

15

2018

241

126

15

32

28

7

11

6

15

2019

284

147

28

27

25

17

8

8

24

2020

128

51

44

1

9

11

0

11

1

Totals

825

410

88

82

82

53

25

26

58

 

* Patient had completed assessments and did not schedule procedure

** Patient was awaiting assessments to be completed.  In some cases patients passed within hours of receipt of the referral

 

Diagnosis Categories at Referral 2019

Diagnosis Category

Number

%

Cancer

186

65%

Cardiac

41

14%

Neurodegenerative

32

11%

Other

25

9%

 

 

Learn More