Voluntary Assisted Dying

Rev Dr Adam McIntosh

Rev Dr Adam McIntosh joined us by Zoom to present to us on the topic of Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD).

Formerly we have discussed our opinion of VAD, but now that it is a legal reality we have to live with or alongside it.

The experience of pain, suffering and the end-of-life is a vulnerable experience. We are called to participate in and witness to God’s mission of compassionate care of the sick, dying, the poor of spirit, those who are experiencing brokenness and forsakenness. With this Christian understanding of our humanity, people should not feel as though they are a ‘burden’ to others or to the broader society at any stage of life, but especially at the end-of-life … Providing compassionate service to people who are aged, sick, suffering and vulnerable is a great gift and privilege.

Qld Synod’s position:

  • Opposition: In-principal opposition to the legislation of VAD.
  • Compassionate support: We are committed to offering ongoing compassionate support to people who choose to access VAD, and will respect their opinion.
  • Conscientious objector: We will uphold the rights of staff in our agencies who will not want to take part in any process that supports the assessment or the administration of VAD.
  • Non-participating entity: Synod agencies will not provide the specialist practitioner roles involved in the assessment and provision of VAD.
  • Legal right: People have certain rights to access information, undertake assessments and in some circumstances to end their life in our facilities through the administration of a VAD substance.

VAD is a minimum 9 day cycle, from first request to administration (death). The person can opt out at any point along the way.

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Initiating a conversation:

  • You MUST NOT initiate a discussion about or suggest VAD with any person in a care context.
  • If a person in a facility asks you about VAD then best practice is to advise them that they can find information through the QVAD Support Service or your facility may have an information sheet.
  • Only health practitioners, medical practitioners and speech pathologists have obligations for providing information.

Confidentiality covers the VAD process, where only those who must know are allowed to be told. The person in the VAD process may request people to be told.

It is an indictable offence to attempt to to induce a person into the VAD process, or to dissuade them from the process once they have entered it.