December 6, 2021

Canadian funeral homes break into the MAiD market

Canadian funeral homes have discovered a way to make money out of medical assistance in dying. During the Covid-19 pandemic people needed a clean, quiet, comfortable venue where they would die. “A lot of times the families were in a bind,” a funeral director in Ontario, Paul Needham, told CBC. “They wanted the procedure, but had no place to go. Nobody was willing to accommodate them due to the shutdown.”

Some players in the industry have responded by setting aside rooms where loved ones can gather around a bed while a doctor gives a lethal injection.

“Family members can be right there with their loved ones,” Mr Needham said. “I suggest they can make it how they want it: bring some of your favourite music, bring flowers, bring some food or if you like, bring a bottle of wine. This is this person’s last day on Earth. You want to take everything into account and consider as many things as possible.”

Apart from Covid-19, other clients just didn’t want the patient to die at home. “Sometimes they’d say things like ‘Every time I look at that bed or every time I walk into that room I would be re-living it.’ I think they just felt there would be a stigma there afterward and they wanted to avoid that,” Mr Needham told CBC.

Another funeral director, David Mullen, is responding to the same trend. He is setting up a room specifically for MAiD. According to CBC:

“Working on the advice of a doctor who performs MAID procedures, Mullen converted a space formerly used as a showroom for caskets into a comfortable place for end-of-life procedures. He brought in a hospital bed and reclining chair, soft lighting, some local art, furniture for guests and a television monitor to display family photos. He can provide snacks and a separate seating area for family members who want to be close, but not at the bedside, when the final moment comes.”

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