The following feedback for the chapter case study is meant to provide guidance for your own practice. The answers provided are suggestions, and you may have additional ideas which are not covered below. Then, the resolution of the case as it occurred in real life is provided for your reference.
To what extent should your concerns about Garry’s mental health impact your response?
- It is possible that Garry’s mental health could be leading to his desire to pursue medical assistance in dying (MAID). However, you are not professionally equipped to make that decision. If Garry does pursue MAID, he will be thoroughly evaluated by a panel of trained professionals. His mental health status should not prevent you from helping Garry access MAID if he wishes it.
How should your own views about the ethics of medically-assisted death inform your response to Garry?
- They should not. When providing client-centered care, you must focus on determining and supporting the client’s choices without trying to influence them.
What actions should you take next, if any, and why?
- You may choose to determine how serious Garry is about this wish by speaking to him about it when you are alone with him. Be careful not to ask leading questions. Instead, ask open-ended questions like, “I heard what you said earlier. What did you mean by that?” That way, you are more accurately able to identify your client’s wishes. If Garry wishes to pursue MAID, you should refer him to the appropriate person at your long-term care centre. Regardless of Garry’s responses to this follow-up conversation, you should still notify an appropriate person about what you heard Garry say.
In this case, the care provider did not take the appropriate action. She disregarded Garry’s comment. When Garry made a second similar comment in the future, the care provider encouraged Garry to try and look on the bright side and stay strong for his family. Garry then asked a different staff member to help him, and he did speak to the MAID panel about his options. Garry eventually chose not to pursue MAID. The original caregiver was reprimanded and reminded to provide referrals upon the client’s request.