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06/23/2018

Canada Releases Third Interim Report on Medical Assistance in Dying

In late June 2018, the Government of Canada released the Third Interim Report on Medical Assistance in Dying.


Between July 1 and December 31, 2017, there were 1,525 medically assisted deaths in Canada, representing a 29.3% increase over the last six-month reporting period. Medically assisted deaths accounted for approximately 1.07% of all deaths in Canada during this time period which is consistent with other international assisted dying regimes. Of these deaths, cancer was the most frequently cited underlying medical condition, present in approximately 65% of all medically assisted deaths.


Other highlights include:


1. The majority of Canadians who received assistance in dying were between 56 and 90 years old. The average age was 73 years old. 


2. There were more cases of medical assistance in dying in larger urban centres (55.9%) compared to areas with smaller populations (41.6%). 


3. In Canada, the setting for the provision of assisted dying continues to be divided primarily between hospitals (40.5%) and a patient’s home (43.3%), followed by other settings such as long-term care or assisted-living facilities.


4. Medically assisted deaths are administered largely by physicians, with only British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario reporting that nurse practitioners in their jurisdictions have provided this service. Nurse practitioners provided medical assistance in dying in 5% of all cases reported during this period, representing a 45% increase since the last interim report.

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