October Update

Voluntary Assisted Dying will be available in Queensland in a few short weeks.

A thank you from the Committee to everyone who has donated to DWDQ. Your very welcome donations will allow us to continue for at least another year. DWDQ will keep you updated about policy and resources. We also plan to be here to represent your wishes when the QLD VAD Law is reviewed in two years.

Diary dates

Saturday 29 October all day – Qld Voluntary Assisted Dying Conference – attend online. Registration is free – book online here

At the conference, you will learn how voluntary assisted dying is being implemented to support the delivery of high quality, safe and compassionate services.

1-31 October – it’s Senior’s Month. Many local libraries are hosting talks and events. This could be the month you take time to reflect and talk about your future plans with those who’re close to you. Use the following link to go to the Queensland Government Website to download a copy of the Queensland Advance Health Directive form. 

Advance health directive - form - Power of attorney and advance health directive forms - Publications | Queensland Government

News from the QLD Health VAD team: VAD in residential aged care 

The QLD VAD Team recently posted a new document on their website. It’s called the “Private entity guidance” for VAD: Private entity guidance—voluntary assisted dying (health.qld.gov.au).

This key document respectfully reconciles the rights of facilities and their residents at the end of life.  It’s another important resource on the Qld Health VAD web pages and on the DWDQ web-site.

The document answers the question: what are the obligations and rights of private care providers in health and aged care? It will be a “go to” resource for management in residential aged care, nursing homes and private hospitals, and for the terminally ill people living in them who are considering VAD. It was produced after careful consultation and discussion between the VAD team and major private providers. The case scenarios throughout really bring to life the delicate issues involved. 

The Queensland VAD Act acknowledges that VAD is a sensitive issue. It aims to create a balance between faith-based and other organisations which don’t wish to facilitate VAD, and the legal rights of the terminally ill person, who may be a long-term resident in aged care.

Sensibly, the VAD law defines some-one as a permanent resident in an aged care facility if this is their “settled and usual place of abode”. So, this doesn’t cover a brief admission to a private hospice, for example, but it does include all residents in aged care, regardless of their tenure or ownership. If you call it “home”, then it is your home. 

The law sets out the minimum obligations of these private facilities. Briefly, the facility mustn’t hinder access to information about VAD, must allow access by health professionals to discuss or consult about VAD, and must give the resident information about QVAD-Support or other agencies. If a facility does not support VAD, they must be upfront about this, in brochures or on their website. They must allow their residents access to helpful information.

If the facility does not support VAD, they still must not block or hinder the resident’s access to VAD. They must allow the co-ordinating or consulting medical practitioner to have access, and any other relevant visitor, e.g. a witness. They can discuss the option of the resident’s transfer to a sympathetic alternative place. There is a full, helpful section on the potential impact of a transfer – the resident may be too unwell, the journey too painful, and the transfer in itself disregards that understandable desire to die “at home” in your familiar surroundings.

Dying with Dignity Queensland