Development of Voluntary Assisted Dying Training in Victoria, Australia: A Model for Consideration

Journal of Palliative Care, 04.08.2020, p. 1-6.

17 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2020

See all articles by Ben White

Ben White

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law

Lindy Willmott

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law

Eliana Close

Queensland University of Technology

Jayne Hewitt

Griffith University - Griffith Law School

Rebecca Meehan

Independent

Malcolm Parker

University of Queensland - School of Medicine

Patsy Yates

Queensland University of Technology

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

Background: Voluntary assisted dying was legalized in Victoria, Australia in June 2019, and was the first jurisdiction internationally to legislatively mandate training for doctors conducting eligibility assessments of patients. Mandatory training was designed as a safeguard to ensure compliance within the system, so that only eligible patients would gain access to voluntary assisted dying.

Objective: This article outlines the development of training mandated for doctors prior to undertaking eligibility assessments for voluntary assisted dying. The training addressed required legal knowledge, including doctors’ roles, duties and legal protections, and also provided instruction on relevant clinical skills.

Design: Training design was based on 2 main principles: to comprehensively impart the legal duties imposed by the legislation; and to be readily accessible for busy doctors. The law was first mapped into a curriculum, and circulated to medical colleges, societies and professional organizations as well as international experts for feedback. The training was converted into an online e-learning format and tested at a focus group of doctors.

Results: The training comprises 9 modules including an assessment module. While the predominant focus of the modules is on law, they also contain some clinical components and links to further resources. Modules also contain videos, case studies and interactive exercises. The assessment consists of 30 questions, selected randomly from a question bank, with a pass mark of 90%.

Conclusion: The Victorian legislatively-mandated voluntary assisted dying training provides standardized baseline knowledge to enhance the quality and consistency of decision-making by doctors. While further evaluation of this training is needed, it may provide a model for other jurisdictions considering making voluntary assisted dying lawful.

Keywords: voluntary assisted dying, medical training, mandatory training, curriculum and training design, end of life law, end of life decision making

JEL Classification: I1, I18, I19, I12, I10, K30, K32, K39

Suggested Citation

White, Ben and Willmott, Lindy and Close, Eliana and Hewitt, Jayne and Meehan, Rebecca and Parker, Malcolm and Yates, Patsy, Development of Voluntary Assisted Dying Training in Victoria, Australia: A Model for Consideration (2020). Journal of Palliative Care, 04.08.2020, p. 1-6., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3668624 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3668624

Ben White (Contact Author)

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law ( email )

Level 4, C Block Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane, QLD 4000
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://staff.qut.edu.au/staff/whiteb/

Lindy Willmott

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law ( email )

Level 4, C Block Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane, QLD 4000
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://staff.qut.edu.au/staff/willmott/

Eliana Close

Queensland University of Technology ( email )

2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4000
Australia

Jayne Hewitt

Griffith University - Griffith Law School ( email )

Nathan Campus, GU
Nathan 4111
Australia

Rebecca Meehan

Independent ( email )

Malcolm Parker

University of Queensland - School of Medicine ( email )

St Lucia
Queensland 4072
Australia

Patsy Yates

Queensland University of Technology ( email )

2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4000
Australia

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