On November 7th 2021, it will be legal for people in New Zealand with a terminal illness to ask for medical assistance to end their life – if they meet the strict criteria in The End of Life Choice Act 2019 (the Act).
The Selwyn Foundation (Selwyn) is a New Zealand registered charity and is an independent and Christian faith-based organisation providing services to older people and their families. The Selwyn Board and Management are committed to ensuring that the right care is provided, in the right way, at the right time.
The scope of this policy relates to all areas where The Selwyn Foundation provides a service and has a “duty of care”. The policy applies to all Selwyn Foundation employed and contracted staff, volunteers, students and contracted clinical services (staff).
This policy outlines the position that Selwyn has taken about the Act and the impact it will have on people living within The Selwyn Foundation’s premises or receiving services.
Our position in relation to the End of Life Choice Act 2019 is that all life is precious and that life is a gift to be experienced and supported until human life is exhausted. Therefore, The Selwyn Foundation does not support a person using our premises for the purposes of assisted dying, (this stance is known as Conscientious Objection under the Act). However as a person making this choice accesses appropriate care under the Act, we will do all within our power to support them.
There may be a situation when a person living on Selwyn premises has no other support options outside Selwyn. In this exceptional circumstance, a request for an exemption can be made to The Selwyn Foundation Board. Because we understand that our role is to offer care and compassion in supporting the lawful decisions of the most vulnerable.
The Act is clear that a person must raise the topic of assisted dying themselves. Staff must not directly or indirectly encourage a person to ask about, or access assisted dying services. We continue to provide excellence of care no matter the choices of any individual.
Legally, if a person’s whānau or family member asks about assisted dying, staff will inform them that only the person wanting to access assisted dying services can make that request. However the whanau or family member can be directed to the Ministry of Health website. More information regarding the Act can be found here https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/regulation-health-and-disability-system/end-life-choice-act-implementation
The Selwyn Foundation expects all our staff to practise the Selwyn Way at all times, to be fully trained to understand the Act, Selwyn Policy, Standard Operating Procedures and to understand the position of conscientious objection.