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How Is A Authorised Witness Involved?

Paul December 15, 2019


As noted in the process overview Voluntary Assisted Dying is a:
•A structured process to give terminally ill people an option to decide the the form and timing of their death;
• An Authorised Witness may be asked to witness two forms, i.e:
•Form 3: Witness Declaration;
•Form 4: Contact Person Appointment;
•Any witness can sign however often people prefer and trust an authorised witness to be used;
•If you have any concerns at all, you can choose to decline being involved and ask for an alternative witness to be found

Information Aide – Overview and Handout

A detailed overview and handout for review can be downloaded in the resources area on the ‘Materials’ tab which can be used for reference in the case of accepting and attending a request for application for Voluntary Assisted Dying.

Information for Nurses

A specific handout on ‘voluntary-assisted-dying-information-for-nurses-and-allied-health-practitioners’ has been developed by Health and Human Services by Victorian State Government can be downloaded in the resources area on the ‘Materials’ tab which can be used for additional reference to the information aide above.

Form 3 – Written Declaration

The written declaration is a record of the decision to request access to voluntary assisted dying. The patient should only complete this form if their co‑ordinating medical practitioner and consulting medical practitioner have both assessed them as eligible for voluntary assisted dying.

This form will be provided to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board by the co‑ordinating medical practitioner before they are prescribed a voluntary assisted dying substance.

Form 4 – Contact Person Appointment

This form records the details of a contact person who will take responsibility for returning any unused voluntary assisted dying substance and acting as a point of contact for the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board after the patient’s death. The contact person must be an adult aged 18 years or more.

Guiding Principles

The Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) Act provides a set of guiding principles that needs to be upmost at all times for consideration by any witness involved, i.e.:
•Every human life has equal value;
•A person’s autonomy should be respected;
•Informed decision making;
•Quality care that minimises suffering and maximises quality of life;
•Therapeutic relationships be supported and maintained;
•Open discussions about death and dying;
•Conversations about treatment and care preferences;
•Genuine choice balanced with safeguards;
•All people have the right to be shown respect for their culture, beliefs, values and personal characteristics.

Eligibility Criteria To Access VAD

To access voluntary assisted dying, a person must meet all of the following eligibility criteria:
•be aged 18 years or more; and
•be an Australian citizen or permanent resident; and be ordinarily resident in Victoria for at least 12 months; and
•have decision-making capacity in relation to voluntary assisted dying; and
•be diagnosed with a disease, illness or medical condition that:
– is incurable; and
-is advanced, progressive and will cause death; and
– is expected to cause death within weeks or months, not exceeding 6 months (12 months for people with a neurodegenerative condition); and
– is causing suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner the person considers tolerable.

Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) - Information Aide Handout

The following Information Aide Sheets are provided as a ready reference to assist with the steps required for a witness for an application for VAD:

Click to "Download" resource

Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) - Nursing Information

The following Information Sheets are provided as reference for nurses from the Department of Health and Human Services to assist with the steps required for a witness for an application for VAD:

Click to "Download" resource