Palliative care concerns in Canada
Since the Supreme Court of Canada overturned the prohibition against doctor assisted suicide, it is interesting to note the concerns expressed in the article “Canada Failing on Palliative Care” by Harvey Max Chochinov, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Manitoba and holder of the Canada Research Chair in Palliative Care.
Chochinov maintains that Canadian physicians are not well educated in care of the dying. They are not adequately trained in end-of-life discussions or even pain management. Consequently, without “substantive investments in hospice and palliative care,” the choices for some dying Canadians may boil down to substandard care, care far away from friends and family, or accepting a lethal injection to end their suffering.
He said, “We are about to become a country that extends patients the right to a hastened death, but offers no legislative guarantees or assurances that they will be well looked after until they die.”