Health authority looking to hire someone to help people die

The South West Local Health Integration Network is hiring a medical assistance in dying (MAID) navigator.

Inquiries related to medically-assisted dying are on the rise in Ontario, according to the South West LHIN

The South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) is hiring a full-time medical assistance in death (MAID) navigator. A nursing degree and a driver's license are required. (Linkedin)

Are you an experienced nurse who isn't afraid of tough conversations?

Then perhaps you'd be a good fit for the South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN)'s new position as a medical assistance in dying (MAID) navigator.

The idea is to have someone based locally in southwestern Ontario who can help patients and families make sense of the rules around medically assisted dying, said interim co-CEO Kelly Gillis.

Inquiries on the rise

Since August of 2017, there's been 413 medically-assisted deaths in Ontario, and 42 just in the South West LHIN, said Gillis.

"It is definitely growing in terms of its demand," said Gillis, adding that there's a corresponding need for services to help patients and families understand the process.

Kelly Gillis, interim co-CEO of the South West LHIN, says demand for information about medically-assisted death is on the rise. (Submitted)

Cory Ruf, communications officer with Dying with Dignity Canada, echoed this idea.

"There's absolutely a pressing need across Ontario for services that support individuals and families who are navigating requests for medical assistance in dying," said Ruf.

"As an organization we're happy that the LHIN is at least taking steps to address this problem, which is province-wide."

Ruf said that the job description is somewhat vague, and hopes the navigator role doesn't just act as a "matchmaking service" for patients looking for medically-assisted dying.

Dr. Cathy Faulds, clinical lead for the South West LHIN, said that this isn't just a matchmaking position, but that skill is nonetheless a crucial element.

"It's not as easy as having a family physician put their name on a list and someone calling them," said Dr. Faulds.

The MAID navigator will also work with doctors and nurses, who might have their own questions about the process of medically assisted dying and how to make referrals.
Cathy Faulds is the clinical lead for the South West LHIN. (Kate Dubinski/CBC News)

Although the navigator won't be performing a medically-assisted death procedure themselves, Dr. Faulds said it's important to have someone around making sure that the process goes according to plan.

"They're going to be the one who makes sure that everything's set up and coordinated so that the patient does die with dignity, when and where they would like that to happen."

Interested in applying?

The South West LHIN plans to interview candidates in February, and have someone in the role by March.

Candidates should have a nursing degree, knowledge of MAID legislation and a valid driver's license. 

"Knowing the engagement we've had to date and the interest we've had in this... I'm expecting that we will have applicants," said Gillis.