Since June 2019 the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act has been in operation throughout Victoria. This enables eligible patients to request an assisted death and make their own decisions regarding self-determination at the end of life. At Palliative Care South East (PCSE) we have introduced a model of care to enable this choice for our clients, ensuring our community and staff are prepared to respond to requests. Kellie Bradley has played a significant role in this process, chairing the Steering Committee which determined how Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) would be implemented in our palliative care services.
“Our position is that the VAD process is very client-driven and the client’s choice.” she says.
“Our core business is providing Palliative Care, but this is another pathway our patients may wish to choose. If a person is considering VAD and they approach one of our clinicians, we very much support their request. Although we don’t take clients through the whole process, we assist them by sharing relevant resources and establishing partnerships with other services.”
Palliative Care services can be provided in conjunction with the VAD process and clients have provided feedback that the services of PCSE have aligned to ensure the client has the opportunity to fulfil their desired end of life experience.
As well as ensuring that the implementation of VAD is client driven, PCSE has established clear levels of participation for all employees. This guarantees that staff members only participate in the conversations or processes they are comfortable with before referring to someone else in the team. We fully comply with the intent and elements of the legislation.
“I think that we as an organisation have shown great leadership and professionalism in terms of our approach to implement VAD within our service. The Steering Committee did a fantastic job, collaborating and having ongoing conversations to determine our position in the process.”
“As always, our clients come first, and it is about supporting them in their choices the best way we can for the level of participation that we choose. Our approach and model of care is something to be proud of,” she concludes.