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Practice Guidance

This page contains information about changes in legislation that may impact your practice. Generally, these requirements are established by government and may require registrants of the College to meet standards, limits or conditions separate and apart from those normally expected of registrants.

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD)

The term ‘medical assistance in dying’ pertains to an authorized medical practitioner that prescribes, provides and/or administers a substance to a person, at their request, that causes their death. MAiD can be requested at a hospital, long-term care facility, palliative care facility, home or other agreed upon location. The procedure is covered by government funded health services.

The BCCSW MAiD Guideline 2021 Practice Guidance is created to outline the professional requirements for lawful services of medical assistance in dying. The BC College of Social Workers does not take a position for or against MAiD. Be aware that as this is an emerging field and there may be legal, provincial or practice changes that occur as issues emerge. It is the responsibility of the registrant to be informed before being involved.

Administration of Naloxone

Non-prescription naloxone in the form of injection and nasal spray have been approved by Health Canada for use in the emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdoses. The BC Ministry of Health has approved the request to amend the BC Drug Schedules Regulation in order to deregulate and unschedule the emergency use of naloxone outside of a hospital setting.

For emergency treatment of opioid overdoses outside of hospitals, naloxone has been removed from Health Canada’s Prescription Drug List. This was done in part to increase the availability and accessibility of the drug to opioid users, bystanders and others.

As of October 2016 the Ministry of Health has approved amendments to the Health Professions Act General Regulations. This change allows for any healthcare professional, first responders and citizens to administer naloxone to persons appearing to be suffering from an opioid overdose outside of hospital.

How this applies to Registered Social Workers:

In emergency situations, Registered Social Workers may administer naloxone and first aid. In order to administer naloxone, Registrants must adhere to the Standards of Practice and relevant legislation. Registered Social Workers must maintain current knowledge of policies, legislation, programs and issues related to the administration of naloxone. We encourage you to research training opportunities on the safe administration of naloxone. Additionally, Registrants may distribute the naloxone kits in accordance with practice standards. Consult with your employer to determine if these tasks may be within your role as an employee.

Adult Guardianship

Important Legislative changes regarding the Adult Guardianship Act

The Certificate of Incapability process under the Patients Property Act was investigated by the Ombudsperson in the February 2013 report titled “No Longer Your Decision: British Columbia’s Process for Appointing the Public Guardian and Trustee to Manage the Financial Affairs of Incapable Adults”. The Ombudsperson made 28 recommendations directed at health authorities, the Public Guardian and Trustee of BC, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Health to enhance the fairness of the process of issuing certificates of incapability. Many of the recommended changes will be brought into force on December 1, 2014 under Part 2.1 of the Adult Guardianship Act and Regulations. The new framework will provide significant procedural protections for the adult, including enhanced notifications, standards for conducting assessments of financial incapability, and clarity on what factors must be considered prior to issuing a certificate of incapability.

As part of the new legislative framework, the Statutory Property Guardianship Regulation sets out which health care providers are qualified to conduct the functional component of the assessment to determine incapability for managing financial affairs, in addition to physicians. Several disciplines are listed as health care providers that may be qualified including: registered social workers, registered nurses and nurse practitioners, registered psychiatric nurses, registered occupational therapists, and registered psychologists. The Statutory Property Guardianship Regulation requires that the regulatory bodies of the prescribed health care providers establish Standards, Limits and Conditions for registrants who will be acting as qualified health care providers under this regulation.

There mandatory online training course for Qualified Health Care Providers is now available. For employees of Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Providence Health Care, Island Health Authority, Interior Health Authority and Fraser Health Authority, please go to your health authority learning management system to take this course. Non health authority employees may take the course from the PHSA learning hub. Successful completion of the course is required to ensure the safe implementation of this new regulation and prior to conducting the functional component of an assessment to determine financial incapability. If you work with the vulnerable adults, you may be required to successfully complete the course.

Please note the following:

  1. The online course is the mandatory requirement under the college’s conditions.
  2. The online course is currently the only program accepted under condition 1(a), and
  3. The conditions listed in 1(b) and 1(c) are not currently available.

Standards, Limits, and Conditions for Qualified Health Care Providers conducting the functional component of an assessment of incapability.