Accessing Medical Assistance in Death (MAiD): An interpretative phenomenological analysis of experiences with MAiD by family members and providers in Manitoba
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Manzhura, Aleksandra. Accessing Medical Assistance in Death (MAiD): An interpretative phenomenological analysis of experiences with MAiD by family members and providers in Manitoba; A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Master of Arts degree, Department of Criminal Justice, The University of Winnipeg. Winnipeg: University of Winnipeg, 2021. DOI: 10.36939/ir.202104301208.
This research explored first-hand experiences with medical assistance in death (MAiD) in Manitoba. It aimed to uncover what experiences revealed about the process behind this new end-of-life option in Canada. Specifically, the research aimed to reveal positive and negative aspects of the MAiD process in Manitoba, from which recommendations can be extracted. To accomplish this, semi-structured, open-ended interviews were conducted with eleven family members (who assisted with the MAiD process) as well as six members of the MAiD team (physicians, nurses, and a social worker). Interviews inquired into participant experiences with the MAiD process and legislation. Interviews were subsequently transcribed (anonymously) and manually analyzed for common themes among participants. Two major themes with subthemes were identified from participant responses. The first theme concentrates on the lack of MAiD awareness and understanding of MAiD requirements among the public and medical professionals. This lack of awareness stems from the absence of standardized education for medical professionals which in turn impedes access to MAiD for patients. The second theme discusses how moral objections (by loved ones, healthcare workers, or abstaining institutions) have also impacted the process. Notably, faith-based facilities (which prohibit MAiD), require patients to transfer elsewhere in order to access MAiD, which at times delays access or in some cases prevents it altogether. Transfers from abstaining facilities were described by participants as a drain on resources, morally distressing, and onerous for patients, sometimes ending unfavourably for them or preventing access to MAiD altogether. These findings call for better information dissemination about MAiD and most importantly, standardized education or professional development for healthcare providers. Greater public awareness of MAiD and its regulations is needed to ensure equitable access to this service, especially in rural areas. Finally, abstaining policies must be re-examined in order to alleviate transfer burdens for patients as well as healthcare providers and families. Further research is required to assess the depth and breadth of MAiD awareness across Canada, as well as track its progression over the years.