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Glossary of terms

A | B | C | D | E | F | H | L | M | N | P | Q | R | S | T | V

A

Accredited interpreter

For the purposes of voluntary assisted dying, this is an interpreter who holds a credential issued under the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) certification scheme.

Administering practitioner

A medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or registered nurse who has met the requirements to administer the voluntary assisted dying substance to a person. The administering practitioner will be either the coordinating practitioner or another person who this role is transferred to.

Administration decision

The decision a person makes in consultation with their coordinating practitioner to either self-administer the voluntary assisted dying substance or have it administered by a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or registered nurse.

Advance health directive

An advance health directive is a legal document which can be by an adult with decision-making capacity to record their decisions about future healthcare treatments. Treatment decisions recorded in a valid advance health directive must be followed when the maker can no longer make or communicate their decisions. Voluntary assisted dying cannot be recorded in an advance health directive due to the need to have decision making capacity at every stage in the process.

Allied health professional

A qualified person who practices any of a wide range of health and related professions other than medicine and nursing (e.g., physiotherapist, speech pathologist, social worker, pharmacist etc.). Allied health professionals are often part of a multidisciplinary healthcare team.

Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM)

The professional body advocating for rural and remote doctors, including rural generalists and general practitioners.

Australian Medical Association (AMA)

The peak professional body representing doctors in Australia. The AMA promotes and protects the interests of all doctors and medical students throughout Australia.

Authorised disposer

A registered health practitioner authorised by the Queensland Health Director-General to dispose of the voluntary assisted dying substance.

Authorised supplier

A registered health practitioner authorised by the Queensland Health Director-General to supply the voluntary assisted dying substance. In Queensland, authorised suppliers are part of the Queensland Voluntary Assisted Dying Pharmacy Service (abbreviated to QVAD-Pharmacy).


B

Bereavement

The period of grief and mourning after a death.


C

Care coordinator

A health care worker working for the Queensland Voluntary Assisted Dying Support Service (abbreviated to QVAD-Support) who can provide information and assistance regarding voluntary assisted dying.

Carriage service

Any service for carrying communications by means of guided and/or unguided electromagnetic energy, e.g., phone, telehealth, or the internet it does not include post. Under the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) some voluntary assisted dying services cannot be discussed by carriage services.

Carer

An individual who provides, in a non-contractual and unpaid capacity, ongoing care or assistance to another person who, because of disability, frailty, chronic illness or pain, requires assistance with everyday tasks.

Chief Executive of Queensland Health/ Queensland Health Director-General

Responsible for the management of the Department of Health activities.

Cause of death certificate

A legal document that is required to notify the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages that a death has occurred and the cause of the death.

Clinical policy

This includes the clinical requirements needed to ensure voluntary assisted dying is delivered in a safe accessible and compassionate way. It includes:

  • mandatory training for doctors and nurses involved in the scheme
  • multidisciplinary education
  • clinical guidelines, procedures, and forms
  • guidance for safety and quality, data, and clinical informatics
  • clinical governance.

Coercion

Using intimidation, a threat or promise, including improperly using a position of trust or influence, to influence a person’s decision of whether to access voluntary assisted dying. Under the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021, a person must be acting voluntarily and free from coercion.

Conscientious objection

The right of a registered health practitioner or speech pathologist to choose not to participate in any aspect of the voluntary assisted dying process due to personal beliefs, values, or moral concerns.

Consulting practitioner

The doctor who accepts a referral to undertake the consulting assessment and independently completes the consulting assessment of the person.

Contact person

A person requesting access to voluntary assisted dying must appoint a contact person. Only people who are 18 years or older can be appointed as a contact person.

The role of the contact person in the case of self-administration decision is to:

  • receive the voluntary assisted dying substance from an authorised supplier
  • supply the substance to the person
  • give the substance, or any unused or remining substance to an authorised disposer;
  • inform the coordinating practitioner for the person if the person dies (whether as a result of self-administrating the voluntary assisted dying substance or from some other cause), within two business days of becoming aware of the death.

The role of the contact person in the case of practitioner administration is to:

  • inform the coordinating practitioner for the person if the person dies (whether as a result of self-administrating the voluntary assisted dying substance or from some other cause), within two business days of becoming aware of the death.

The Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board may contact the person to request information.

Continuous professional development (CPD)

Continuing professional development (CPD) is how health practitioners maintain, improve, and broaden their knowledge, expertise, and competence, and develop the personal and professional qualities required throughout their professional lives.

Health practitioners who are engaged in any form of practice are required to participate regularly in CPD that is relevant to their scope of practice in order to maintain, develop, update and enhance their knowledge, skills and performance to help them deliver appropriate and safe care.

Coordinating practitioner

The doctor who accepts the person’s first request for voluntary assisted dying and coordinates the process.


D

Decision-making capacity

A person has decision-making capacity in relation to voluntary assisted dying if they are capable of:

  • understanding the nature and effect of decisions about access to voluntary assisted dying
  • freely and voluntarily making decisions about access to voluntary assisted dying
  • communicating decisions about access to voluntary assisted dying in some way.

A person is presumed to have decision-making capacity unless there is evidence to the contrary.

Disability

A disability is a person’s condition that—

is attributable to:

  • an intellectual, psychiatric, cognitive, neurological, sensory, or physical impairment; or
  • a combination of impairments; and

results in—

  • a substantial reduction of the person’s capacity for communication, social interaction, learning, mobility or self-care or management; and
  • the person needing support
  • the disability must be permanent or likely to be permanent
  • the disability may be, but need not be, of a chronic episodic nature.

E

End-of-life care

Health care provided in the final days and hours of life.

Eligibility criteria

The requirements under the Act that a person must meet to be eligible to access voluntary assisted dying.

The Act includes strict eligibility criteria for accessing voluntary assisted dying. This reflects the underlying principle that voluntary assisted dying is only an option for people at the end of life who are suffering and dying. To be eligible, a person must:

  1. Have an eligible condition.
  2. Have decision-making capacity for voluntary assisted dying.
  3. Be acting voluntarily and without coercion.
  4. Be aged at least 18 years of age.
  5. Fulfil residency requirements (i.e., be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or ordinarily have lived in Australia for at least 3 years and in Queensland for 12 months before making the ‘first request’. Exemptions to these requirements may apply).

Each of these criteria must be met for the person to be eligible.

Eligible condition

An eligible condition is a disease, illness or medical condition that is:

  • advanced, progressive and will cause death
  • expected to cause death within 12 months, and
  • causing suffering that the person considers to be intolerable.

Enduring decisions

Enduring decisions refers to decisions that are made in advance, and then acted on by someone else, for example in an Advance Health Directive.

Voluntary assisted dying cannot be included in enduring decisions as a person must have decision making capacity at all stages of the process.

Entity

An institution, organisation or business providing a health service, residential aged care or personal care service. They may include, but are not limited to, hospitals, hospices, and residential aged care facilities.


F

Final request

The third and final request to the coordinating practitioner for access to voluntary assisted dying. This request must be clear, unambiguous and made by the person themselves. It cannot be made by someone else on their behalf. They may make this final request verbally or by gestures or other means of communication available to them.

Final review

The review (of the first assessment record form, consulting assessment record form and second request) that the coordinating practitioner must complete upon receiving the final request. The coordinating practitioner must also confirm the person has decision-making capacity and is acting voluntarily and without coercion during their final review.

First assessment

The assessment completed by the coordinating practitioner to determine if a person is eligible for voluntary assisted dying. If the person is assessed as eligible, they will be referred for a consulting assessment.

First request

The first request made by a person to a medical practitioner for access to voluntary assisted dying. This first request must be clear, unambiguous and made by the person themselves. It cannot be made by someone else on their behalf. They may make this request verbally or by gestures or other means of communication available to them.

First responder

A person whose job means that they are likely to be called to attend to an emergency (e.g., ambulance officers, police, firefighters).


H

Health professional

A qualified person who practises one of a range of medical, nursing or allied health professions.

Healthcare worker

A person who works in a healthcare setting such as a hospital, general practice, or residential care facility. This includes health professionals and any other person who provides health services or professional care services.


L

Life-limiting condition

A disease, illness or condition that can’t be cured and that a person is likely to die from.


M

Medical consultation

An appointment or meeting with a medical practitioner to seek medical advice or treatment.

Medical practitioner

A person registered in the medical profession (other than as a student). Also known as a doctor.

Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)

A list of the medical services for which the Australian Government will pay a Medicare rebate, to provide patients with financial assistance towards the costs of their medical services.

Medicare rebates are not payable for any medical service that is not listed on the MBS. If there is no Medicare rebate available, payment arrangements are a private matter between the treating medical practitioner and the person.


N

National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI)

The national standards and accreditation body for translators and interpreters in Australia. Interpreters must be accredited (by NAATI) to provide services to people seeking voluntary assisted dying.

Neurodegenerative condition

A condition characterised by degeneration of the nervous system, especially the neurons in the brain (e.g., motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, etc).

Nurse practitioner

A person registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Queensland) to practise in the nursing profession and whose registration is endorsed as a nurse practitioner.


P

Palliative care

Healthcare focused on improving the quality of life and quality of care for people with a life-limiting illness, as well as families. It includes:

  • the prevention and relief of suffering
  • communication about goals of care and
  • the early identification, assessment, and treatment of physical, psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual symptoms. It helps people live as actively as possible until death by enhancing their quality of life.

A person will be able to receive palliative care at the same time as accessing voluntary assisted dying.

Practitioner administration

The administration of the voluntary assisted dying substance by an administering practitioner to the person.

Practitioner/participating practitioner

A medical practitioner or nurse practitioner participating in, or considering participating in, the voluntary assisted dying process.

Primary health care

Primary health care is typically the first contact an individual with a health concern has with the health system. It covers health care that is not related to a hospital visit. Primary health care services are delivered in settings such as general practices, community health centres, and allied health practices.


Q

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT)

An independent, accessible tribunal that efficiently resolves disputes on a range of matters, including certain decisions related to the voluntary assisted dying assessment process.

QVAD-IMS (Queensland Voluntary Assisted Dying Information Management System)

The ICT solution that practitioners will use to record and report to the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board on the voluntary assisted dying process. The review board will use the information recorded in the system to ensure compliance with the Act and enable monitoring, oversight and reporting.

Queensland Voluntary Assisted Dying Support Service (QVAD-Support)

A service to be established that will provide information and support to people seeking voluntary assisted dying, their loved ones, and health practitioners navigating the process.

Queensland Voluntary Assisted Dying Pharmacy Service (QVAD-Pharmacy)

The pharmacy service to be established to supply the voluntary assisted dying substance in Queensland and provide advice and support to people accessing voluntary assisted dying, their families and carers, and practitioners.


R

Registered health practitioner

A person registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Queensland) to practise a health profession, other than as a student.

Request and assessment process

The staged process set out in the Act that a person must follow to access voluntary assisted dying. It consists of several key steps:

  • a first request
  • a first assessment
  • a consulting assessment
  • a second request
  • a final request and
  • a final review.

Regional, rural and remote equity of access

The work that is being completed to ensure Queenslanders, no matter where they live in the state, will be able to access voluntary assisted dying.

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)

The professional body representing general practitioners throughout Australia. The RACGP advocates for the interests of general practitioners.

Rural generalist

Rural generalists are general practitioners who provide primary care services and emergency medicine, and have training in additional skills like obstetrics, anaesthetics, or mental health services.


S

Second request

The person’s second request for access to voluntary assisted dying. This request must be in writing and after the person has been assessed as eligible by the coordinating practitioner and the consulting practitioner. A second request must be in the approved form and signed in the presence of two eligible witnesses.

Safeguards

Measures or protections included in the scheme to ensure it is only accessed by those who are eligible and to protect the vulnerable from coercion and exploitation.

Self-administration/self-administer

The self-administration of the voluntary assisted dying substance by the person accessing voluntary assisted dying.

Specialist

A medical practitioner with specialist registration under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Queensland).


T

Telehealth

The use of telecommunication technology to deliver health services and health information, including health care and health over a distance.


V

Voluntary

When a person acts of their own free will. A person must access voluntary assisted dying voluntarily and without coercion. A person may choose to discontinue their request at any stage of the process.

Voluntary assisted dying (also referred to as VAD)

The administration of a voluntary assisted dying substance and the steps related to that administration.

Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021 (the Act)

The legislation that regulates voluntary assisted dying in Queensland.

Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board (also referred to as the review board)

The statutory Board established to ensure compliance with the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021 and to recommend safety and quality improvements relating to voluntary assisted dying.

Voluntary Assisted Dying scheme (also referred to as scheme)

All the things that are required to make voluntary assisted dying available in Queensland. This includes:

  • Queensland Voluntary Assisted Dying Pharmacy Service
  • Queensland Voluntary Assisted Dying Support Service
  • Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board
  • regional and rural equity of access
  • ICT solution
  • voluntary assisted dying regulation
  • clinical policy
  • communication and engagement.

Voluntary assisted dying substance (also referred to as substance)

A substance or drug, or combination of substances, approved by the Queensland Health Director-General for use under the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021 for the purpose of causing a person’s death. Substances listed in Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 of the Commonwealth Poisons Standard may be approved by the Queensland Health Director-General.

Last updated: 9 June 2022