Assisted Dying and End of Life

Our organisational position on the End of Life Choice Act 2019

What we believe

Waipuna Hospice supports the international palliative care definition that Hospice neither “hastens nor postpones death”. We believe in caring for a patient until their natural end of life.

While Waipuna Hospice recognises that patients have a legal right to assisted dying, we have taken an organisational position of conscientious objection in relation to the End of Life Choice (EOLC) Act 2019. This means that if you are exploring the option of lawfully requesting medical assistance to end your life (assisted dying) Waipuna Hospice staff will refer you to the Support and Consultation for End of Life in New Zealand (SCENZ) Group.

What conscientious objection means in practice

Waipuna Hospice will not add assisted dying procedures to our services. Hospice staff will not assess eligibility for assisted dying, prescribe, or deliver, or be present during the administration of medication to end a life. From experience, we know that with the right palliative care a person can have their symptoms managed to help them feel as comfortable as possible until their death.

How this may impact you

Assisted dying will not be offered in our inpatient unit and patients seeking assisted dying will need to transfer out of our inpatient unit to undergo this intervention.

When a patient chooses assisted dying in their own home, Waipuna Hospice will provide the patient with specialist palliative care services up until the time of the assisted dying intervention. Waipuna Hospice staff will not be able to be present at the time of assisted dying. Families will still be able to access bereavement support thereafter.

Waipuna Hospice will continue to support all of our patients and families by providing specialist palliative care for as long as possible. We will respect a patient’s choice to take this path and it will not stop us from caring for them or their family/whānau in every other way.

We encourage people to communicate what is important to them at end of life.

For information on the End of Life Choice Act visit https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/regulation-health-and-disability-system/end-life-choice-act

If you have any questions relating to this information, please call us on 07 552 4380 or email info@waipunahospice.org.nz.