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Tōtara Hospice and New Zealand’s End-of-Life Choice Act 2019

Assisted dying is legal in New Zealand. 
Tōtara Hospice’s central role in the community is to provide holistic, specialised palliative care and support to patients, and to respect and support patient-centered choice in the partnership of care.

Tōtara Hospice does not conscientiously object to assisted dying.

We respect that approximately two-thirds of the population voted in favour of assisted dying as a legal option for the terminally ill who meet the eligibility criteria within the Act.
and who wish to access it.

From November 7th, we will Host assisted dying services for those patients in our care who wish to access this legal choice. We will work in partnership with administrating practitioners, ensuring access is seamless and supported for all eligible patients.

We believe in great palliative care, and in the human rights of each patient as a unique human being, and we will always:

  • Trust our patients to make choices about care that best meets their needs with us as their care-partner.
  • Provide patient-centred care.
  • Support patients to live well, die well and to have control of their choices right to the end of their life.
  • Support their family/whānau to live well throughout.

As our patient here at Tōtara Hospice:

  • You are the driver of your own journey. Our role is to give you the best chance to be yourself, to have your own needs, goals, and desires met and to make informed choices about your care in partnership with us.
  • When the Act becomes legal on 7/11/21, nothing is going to change at Tōtara Hospice about how we give care and support.
  • What changes is the range of choices a patient with a terminal illness has as their illness progresses.
  • If a patient wishes to access assisted dying, we will host this service, supporting them to access this in a seamless way, and continue to care for them and their whānau/families up until death and beyond.

As of November 7th 2021:

  • A patient in the care of Tōtara Hospice may ask about assisted dying services and choose to access this service if they wish. Staff are trained to provide the correct information.
  • It is important to note that under the Act, the patient must raise the topic of assisted dying first. Our staff are not legally able to raise the topic first.
  • Staff cannot directly or indirectly encourage or discourage a patient in the care of Tōtara Hospice to ask about or access assisted dying services.

Why is Tōtara Hospice’s approach different to other Hospices in NZ?

  • Tōtara Hospice expect that differences will occur amongst people and organisations; we will focus on the needs of our patients and their loved ones.
  • Tōtara Hopsice respects the right of any organisation to have its own opinion on any matter. The Act is no different.
  • We remain united with our sector in our shared view that great palliative care should be accessible to all who need it and further we believe that the Act has an important place in contemporary Hospice palliative care across Aotearoa/New Zealand.
  • Tōtara Hospice cannot comment on the approach of other hospices..

Links:

https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/regulation-health-and-disability-system/end-life-choice-act-implementation
https://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2019/0067/latest/whole.html

Any community and media enquiries:
Please contact Melinda.seal@hospice.co.nz.