"While the government tabled legislation April 14  to clarify the laws around doctor-assisted death, responses from some members of the Anglican Church of Canada's task force on assisted dying show that the church -- and Canadian society -- remain divided about how widely available this measure should be. Canon Eric Beresford, the ethicist who chairs the task force, said he felt the government 'tried hard to balance a number of things', and commended the decision to exclude children from the purview of the act. Another member of the task force, however, suggested its restrictiveness is a problem. Julie Guichon, a lawyer and assistant professor at the University of Calgary's school of medicine, argued that in its current form the bill is unconstitutional." (p. 1). "Meanwhile, the government's promise to spend $3 billion over the next five years for homecare and expanded palliative care was received positively by various quarters. Beresford said the announcement was 'wonderful news', and suggested that with assisted dying now an option, strong palliative care is more important than ever" (p. 12).
Includes bibliographical references and bibliography: p. -80.
"Ours is a death-denying society. Fifty years ago sex was the taboo subject; now its death. Society pretends that death is not there and hides it away in dimly lit, solitary rooms in institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes. The dying person is often an embarrassment to medical staff who are oriented to cure, and unendurable to family members who want to avoid unpleasantness. .... Terminal care, when all active treatment of a patient's disease becomes ineffective and irrelevant to his needs, becomes palliative care. Palliative care is not a medical speciality. It is a concept and philosophy of care. Palliative care tries to alleviate distress in any of its forms, keeps patients as free from pain as possible without drugging them into insensibility, and provides medical, psychological, social, and spiritual support for the family as well as the patient." -- Intro.
"This book has evolved from [Beverly Hall's] working experience with terminally ill people through St. Mary's Anglican Church, Richmond Hill, and Hospice King (the prototype of community homecare in Canada)." -- back cover.
Contents: Introduction -- Learning from the Dying -- Physical-Medical Needs -- Psychological-Social Needs -- Spiritual Needs -- Understanding the Needs of AIDS Patients -- Care of the Caregiver -- The Hospice Concept -- Epilogue -- Endnotes -- Bibliography.
The Journal spoke with three chaplains and ministers who work closely with the dying and their families about the recent Supreme Court decision to strike down the ban on physician-assisted suicide. The Very Rev. Iain Luke, in the diocese of Athabasca, "expressed a theological concern that the statement suggests that 'dying and suffering around death, have no value', [but] he was also cautiously optimistic that the court's decision might actually provide a boost to palliative care". "For Luke, the church's most important role in response to assisted dying is to continue showing care and support for the dying and their families". The Rev. Keirstan Wells, co-ordinating diocesan health care chaplain for the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, "said she thinks the court ruling is a 'positive development' because if will give people that autonomy, should they desire it. But she also believes that the church must provide guidance for those who are thinking through such end-of-life decisions". The Rev. Joanne Davies, a chaplain with the diocese of Toronto, "does think that the ruling has a positive side, in addition to the challenges. 'It means that we're actually going to talk about death and dying and actually name it', she said. 'As I begin to look at, that's the best part .. that people will actually start to think about it, and that passage to death is one form of care'".
"The Rev. Eric MacDonald, a retired Anglican priest who lives in Windsor, N.S., said he was 'overjoyed' by the Supreme Court of Canada's decision to legalize doctor-assisted suicide. 'I think it was about time', he said, but added, 'For Elizabeth, it is 10 years too late'" (p. 8). Elizabeth MacDonald was diagnosed with primary progressive MS (Multiple Sclerosis) in 1998 which resulted in rapidly progressing paralysis in 2006. "In June 2007, when Elizabeth was 38, they travelled to Zurich, seeking the help of Dignitas, an organization that offers medically assisted suicide" (p. 8). After Elizabeth's death and his return to Nova Scotia, "the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition asked the RCMP in Nova Scotia to investigate. The RCMP asked MacDonald to come into their station for an interview. ... About a week later the same officer came to his house to tell him that no charges were going to be laid" (p. 8-9). "MacDonald said he was outraged by the report's suggestion [Care in Dying] that assisted suicide is a failure of community. 'That really means that people who are helped to die are really being abandoned by their community, and I think that's a horrible thing to say'. In Elizabeth's case, he said, 'For me to have refused and said. 'There's no way I'm going to assist you in this -- there's no way I'm going to accompany you to Switzerland -- that would have been, to me, abandonment'" (p. 9).
a) the report be sent back to the Task Force or a successor group for re-writing in the light of the total discussion on the floor of Synod, with a clear emphasis on the Christian concern for the sanctity of human life; such re-written report to be published for distribution and study on the authority of the National Executive Council.
b) the Task Force be encouraged to receive submissions from all interested bodies and individuals such as other churches, The Canadian Association for the Mentally Retarded, the Address of Mr. Justice Lamer of the Canadian Law Reform Commission, etc.; and
c) in the meantime Recommendations 2 and 3 on pages 18 and 19 of the interim Report be accepted as a basis for ecumenical action from the present time.
After extensive discussion and debate the Motion was put and CARRIED ACT 70
The Recommendations referred to in paragraph (c) of the Resolution are:
A) That the Church recognize its responsibility to provide educational programmes to effect a better understanding of the needs of the dying patient, of those responsible for the patient's welfare and of the next of kin. We believe that these programmes should focus on a number of specific areas.
a) The delineation, in the continuing education of clergy, of their special role with the dying patient and with their immediate families.
b) The inclusion of similar training and experience within the academic and pastoral programmes of theological colleges.
c) To equip church people for effective ministry to the terminally ill in conjunction with the medical team and for service in volunteer Home Care programmes of hospitals.
d) The establishment of Grief Recovery groups to enable the bereaved to identify and reconcile their feeling of guilt and grief.
e) The development in the Church and in society at large of a more realistic and wholesome attitude to and acceptance of the dying process and of death itself.
B) a) That the Church urge local professional associations to initiate programmes of continuing education for doctors and nurses to develop more skillful and compassionate care of the dying and bereaved.
b) That the Church emphasize the importance of similar training in the curricula of all health care teaching institutions.
3. Patient Care
A) That the Church actively support and encourage all persons and institutions which provide effective care for the terminally ill especially the Palliative Care Units at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal and at St. Boniface Hospital, Winnipeg, working toward the establishment of similar units in other hospitals.
B) That the Church make continuing representations to provincial governments for the provision on a growing scale of small, independent units for the care of terminal patients in which conditions allow the development of close relations between patients, their families and those who care for them.
C) That the Church urge hospitals to expand Home Care programmes in the community with the support of visiting nurses, physician home visits and ancillary services so that dying patients may have the option of remaining at home in the care of their families (see Malkin, S.: "Care of the terminally ill at home", "Canadian Medical Association Journal" 115 (July 17, 1976), p.129
D) That the Church cooperate at the local level with appropriate Medical Boards, District Health Councils, professional societies, provincial associations and other agencies to initiate feasibility studies for improving further the care of dying patients and that findings be forwarded to provincial and the federal governments.
"Quebec's approval in June  of medical aid-in-dying legislation, recent high-profile suicides of terminally ill patients and the Supreme Court of Canada's review of existing laws prohibiting medically assisted death have forced Canadians to confront their own views about ending one's life. It has also raised awareness about the need for palliative care". "Given these developments, the Anglican Church of Canada's faith, worship and ministry committee has created a task force to revisit end-of-life issues ... It is a necessary move. If clergy and lay ministers are to share the journey with people as they go through life and death, they must be equipped with theological, ethical and pastoral resources that are appropriate to their local contexts". "The church can help reduce the fear of dying, but it can also help increase knowledge about palliative care.
Cover title: How merciful ?: euthanasia and assisted suicide.
"Copyright 2010 The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada". -- inside front cover.
"Author: The Centre for Faith and Public Life, The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada". -- inside front cover.
Includes bibliographical endnotes.
Contents: Belgium: Lionel, Renata and their daughter Tikva -- Canada: Mark Pickup, Founder of HumanLifeMatters -- Clarifying the Definitions -- What's Happening in Other Countries -- Current Laws in Canada -- Protecting the Vulnerable -- God's Heart: Biblical View -- A Christian Response: Palliative Care -- Praxis: Take Action -- Converse -- Endnotes.
Colophon: Printed and bound in Canada by Turnhill Graphics.
Includes bibliographical endnotes and bibliography, p. 125-126.
Contents: Acknowledgements -- Introduction -- Charting the Legal Trends : Euthanasia in Canada, the United States and the Netherlands / Robert Nadeau -- Invulnerable Nothings : Sue Rodriguez and the Supreme Court of Canada / Ian A. Hunter -- The Final Taboo : Rethinking Death with Dignity / Ian Gentles -- As Life Ends : Professional Care Givers on Terminal Care and Euthanasia / Elizabeth Cassidy, Barrie de Veber, Frank Henry and Ian Gentles -- Euthanasia and the Elderly: A Pilot Study / Frank Henry and Ian Gentles -- Fear and False Promises : The Challenge of Pain in the Terminally Ill / John Scott -- Notes -- Suggestions for Further Reading -- Contributors -- Index.
"Colin Proudman ('Dying Well', Letters, Feb. 2015, p. 4) correctly points out that the root meaning of the word 'euthanasia' comes from the Greek, meaning 'dying well' (sometimes translated 'good death'). And 'who would not wish' that ? He also correctly points out that euthanasia has commonly come to mean terminating life or assisted suicide. Here are some other definitions: Hospice: a guesthouse for travellers, from French and Latin roots 'hospitium', 'hospes' (a stranger treated as a guest). Palliative: to alleviate symptoms of a disease without curing). I volunteer on a hospice unit alongside nursing staff and other specially trained volunteers. A highlight of the week is the weekly tea party. Tablecloths and bone china cups are brought out, cookies are donated, and tea and coffee made ready for our guests: family, friends and patients well enough to participate. Strangers who have become friends and 'family' return to remember a loved one who died several years ago, sharing tears and laughter, hugs and a deep joy that a loved one 'died well'." [Text of entire article.]