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Lethbridge research looking into MAID in rural areas

David Major tries not to focus on the final months of his wife LaVerne’s life.

She was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2021 and started chemotherapy that August.

“Almost immediately, she decided she’d rather not do that just to get maybe two years of additional life. So she decided that she was just going to let the disease take its course,” said Major.

By the end of November 2021, she was ready to take control of the terrible diagnosis she received.

“In the beginning of December, she hoped she might last until Valentine’s Day, but the disease progressed really quickly,” added Major.

Click to play video: 'Government deliberating expansion of MAID'

Government deliberating expansion of MAID

LaVerne made the decision to choose medical assistance in dying (MAID).

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MAID has been legal in Canada since 2016.

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In the ongoing coverage surrounding MAID there has been very little attention paid to rural communities, according to the research done by a doctor Global News spoke to.

“There are a number of people who don’t even realize that MAID is legal,” said Dr. Julia Brassolotto, associate professor in the faculty of sciences at the University of Lethbridge. “First, just getting information out so people know it’s legal. Also, they understand the conditions under which it’s legal.”

Brassolotto is now sharing her findings as a way to create awareness.

Click to play video: 'Nurse practitioners in Canada not being compensated for medical assistance in dying work'

Nurse practitioners in Canada not being compensated for medical assistance in dying work

Her research focused on conversations with 29 people.

“That included health care providers, family members of patients who had requested and received MAID, and patients who were pursuing maid for themselves,” added Brassolotto.

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She said the research found challenges in accessing information on MAID in rural areas, including trying to find care providers willing to participate or people who would travel to rural spots while also trying to navigate the confidentiality risks in small communities.

“Sometimes you want to have these conversations for yourself and not necessarily have all your neighbours and community members know these decisions that you’re making about really personal health care choices,” said Brassolotto.

According to Alberta Health Services, a total of 328 people have opted for MAID in communities south of Calgary, including Lethbridge and Medicine Hat, since 2016.

“They allowed our entire family. My son and daughter and their families, they were all there,” said Major.

LaVerne passed away on Jan. 28, 2022.

&© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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