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Title: Palliative care physicians' preparation and planning for the implementation of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act in Victoria.
Austin Authors: Philip, Jennifer;Holmes, Alex;Benson, Melanie;Boughey, Mark;Yoong, Jaclyn;Clinch, Alexandra;Moran, Juli A 
Affiliation: Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne
Palliative Care Service, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne
Parkville Integrated Palliative Care Service, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre & Royal Melbourne Hospitals..
Palliative Care Service, Northern Health
Palliative Care Service, Monash Health
Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne
Palliative Care Service, Peninsula Health
Palliative Care Service, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne
Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne
Palliative Care
Parkville Integrated Palliative Care Service, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre & Royal Melbourne Hospitals
Department of Psychiatry, Melbourne Health
Department of Medicine, Monash University
Issue Date: Oct-2020
Date: 2020-08-03
Publication information: Internal Medicine Journal 2020; 51(10): 1645-1649
Abstract: In November 2017, the Victorian Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) Act was passed enabling people with a progressive terminal illness to end their life voluntarily. Heated debate abounded including, to some extent within palliative care, which was also challenged with developing processes around the legislation enactment. In response, the lead author convened a series of meetings of palliative care physicians: 1. To share ideas about preparations being undertaken within services; and 2. To re-establish professional cohesion following the divide that the legislation had presented. Setting/Participants: A series of three closed meetings were held between the legislation passage and its implementation, with all Victorian palliative care physicians invited to attend. Meetings were facilitated by an experienced psychiatrist from outside the field. These meetings proved very valuable as physicians collectively sought to define and respond to challenges, simultaneously reflecting on the personal and professional implications for individuals and the field. Key areas raised including gauging institutional 'readiness' for the legislation through staff surveys; the educational role of palliative care staff of the legislation implications; communication skills training; the role (if any) of palliative care in the processes of VAD; and the perceptions of palliative care itself in health services and the community. It was during the processes of discussing challenges and sharing solutions that the attendees appeared to re-affirm their professional interconnections. A description of the key elements of these discussions may be useful to others who may yet face similar circumstances with the introduction of VAD legislation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.1111/imj.15004
ORCID: 0000-0002-3312-0645
Journal: Internal Medicine Journal
PubMed URL: 32743936
Type: Journal Article
Subjects: Voluntary assisted dying
Appears in Collections:Journal articles

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