End of Life Options

End of Life Choices California believes that
all Californians diagnosed with a terminal
illness should
have factual information
about, and access to, all legal options
concerning their end-of-life wishes.  

End of Life Options

Understanding the California End of Life Option Act (ELOA)

The Significance of ELOA for Californians

The passage of the California End of Life Option Act (ELOA) stands as a beacon of autonomy, offering eligible individuals the choice to make informed decisions about their end-of-life care. Signed into law on October 5, 2015, and effective since June 9, 2016, the ELOA ensures that Californians have access to medical aid in dying, underlining our commitment to supporting your right to choose the manner in which you live your final days. It’s crucial to understand the eligibility requirements for this law. These include being 18 years or older, of sound mind, the ability to self-ingest the medication, and diagnosed with a terminal disease with a life expectancy of six months or less, to ensure that all individuals who wish to can access these options.

Exploring Additional End-of-Life Care Options

In addition to medical aid in dying, our organization advocates for the dignity of choice through other end-of-life care options. Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking (VSED) allows an individual to make the conscious decision to forgo food and fluids, aiming to end their life on their own terms. We also support the right to refuse unwanted medical treatments—interventions that may prolong life but do not necessarily add to the quality of it, such as the use of ventilators, feeding tubes, and other life-sustaining measures.

Commitment to Education and Guidance

Our Commitment to Education and Guidance

Guiding You Through End-of-Life Decisions

We are deeply committed to serving as your educator and guide through the complexities of end-of-life decisions. While we do not provide these services directly, we are dedicated to ensuring you have access to all the necessary information and support to navigate the array of options available to you. Our role is to help you understand the intricacies of laws like the California End of Life Option Act (ELOA), and to direct you towards reputable health care providers that offer medical aid in dying, hospice care, palliative care, and other end-of-life care services.

Facilitating Connections with Care Providers

In addition to educating about medical-aid-in-dying (MAID), we emphasize the importance of understanding and considering all possible end-of-life choices. This includes guiding you through the decision-making process around Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking (VSED) and your right to refuse unwanted medical treatments. Our aim is to provide you with comprehensive knowledge and resources, so you can make informed decisions that align with your values and wishes. This guidance extends to offering contact information for hospice and palliative care providers, who specialize in offering comfort, alleviating pain, and enhancing quality of life for those facing serious, chronic, or terminal illnesses.

Supporting Your Journey with Compassion

Supporting Your Journey with Compassion

We understand that navigating end-of-life care is a deeply personal and significant journey. By serving as your educator and guide, we aim to empower you with the knowledge and resources to make choices that are right for you and your family. Our organization is here to support you in exploring all available options, helping to ensure that your end-of-life decisions are made with dignity, respect, and a sense of peace.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility Requirements to Access the Law:

• Must be 18 years or older.

• Must be of sound mind and exhibit appropriate decision-making capabilities to the attending physician.

• Must be able to self-ingest the medication either orally or by pushing through an NG tube.

• Must be diagnosed with a terminal disease, with a life expectancy of six months or less,  by two physicians.

OPTION

California End of Life Option Act (ELOA) for Medical Aid in Dying

When the End of Life Option Act (ELOA) was signed by California  Governor Jerry Brown on October 5, 2015 and went into effect on June 9, 2016, it laid a solid foundation for all Californians to be supported… LEARN MORE

OPTION

Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking

VSED (voluntarily stopping of eating and drinking) is the conscious act of a person to intentionally stop eating and drinking with the goal of ending their life. The decision to use VSED relies solely on a competent person’s … LEARN MORE

OPTION

Stopping Unwanted Medical Treatment

Treatments for certain health conditions or to prolong life, such as use of a ventilator, a feeding tube, IV hydration, antibiotics or other medications and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), can be refused … LEARN MORE

OPTION

Hospice

Hospice care is a type of care and philosophy of care that focuses on the palliation (alleviation) of a chronically ill, terminally ill or seriously ill person’s pain and symptoms, and attending to their emotional … LEARN MORE

OPTION

Palliative Care

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with a serious or chronic illness. This type of care is focused on relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life … LEARN MORE

OPTION

Palliative Terminal/Sedation

Palliative Sedation, sometimes called terminal sedation, involves being medicated to the point of the loss of consciousness. Typically the person remains unconscious until death. At the same time, all nutrition … LEARN MORE

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the legal requirements for medical aid in dying in California?

Medical aid in dying is legal in California under the End of Life Option Act. To qualify, individuals must be mentally competent adults with a diagnosis by 2 different physicians of a terminal illness expected to result in death within six months. They must make two oral requests to their attending physician, separated by no less than 48 hours, and provide that physician a signed written request form.

The request form must be witnessed by two individuals, one of whom cannot be a relative or beneficiary. For more information, visit the End of Life Choices California website

How can patients access medical aid in dying in California?

Patients in California can access medical aid in dying by discussing the option with their healthcare provider. If they meet the eligibility criteria, they can request the necessary medications to end their life peacefully with the people, the time and place of their choosing. Additionally, patients may seek guidance and support from organizations like End of Life Choices California, which provide resources and assistance throughout the process.

What is the process for requesting and receiving medical aid in dying in California?

The process for requesting and receiving medical aid in dying in California involves several steps. Patients must first discuss their end-of-life wishes with their healthcare provider. If deemed eligible by 2 different physicians, they must make two oral requests, separated by 48 hours, and provide a written request form. The request must be witnessed by two individuals, one of whom cannot be a relative or beneficiary. Once the request is approved, patients can receive the necessary medications to end their life peacefully.

Are there any eligibility criteria for patients seeking medical aid in dying in California?

Yes, there are eligibility criteria for patients seeking medical aid in dying in California. Patients must be mentally competent adults with a terminal illness expected to result in death within six months. They must make two oral requests to their attending physician, separated by at least 48 hours, and provide a written request form. The request form must be witnessed by two individuals, one of whom cannot be a relative or beneficiary.

What is the role of healthcare providers in assisting patients with end-of-life care decisions in California?

Healthcare providers in California can play a crucial role in assisting patients with end-of-life care decisions. They should be expected to provide information about available options, including medical aid in dying, palliative care, and hospice services. Healthcare providers can also support patients surrounding end-of-life care and help ensure their wishes are respected and honored.

What legal documents should individuals in California have in place to ensure their end-of-life wishes are honored?

Individuals in California should have several legal documents in place to ensure their end-of-life wishes are honored, including advance healthcare directives, living wills, and power of attorney for healthcare decisions. These documents outline their preferences for medical treatment, end-of-life care, and designate a healthcare proxy to make decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated.

How can individuals in California designate a healthcare proxy or power of attorney for healthcare decisions?

Individuals in California can designate a healthcare proxy or power of attorney for healthcare decisions by completing a legal document known as a durable power of attorney for healthcare. This document allows them to appoint a trusted individual to make medical decisions on their behalf if they become unable to do so. It is important to discuss these wishes with the designated proxy and ensure they understand and are willing to fulfill their role.

What are advance directives, and how can individuals in California create them to outline their end-of-life care preferences?

Advance directives are legal documents that allow individuals to specify their healthcare preferences and end-of-life care wishes in advance. In California, individuals can create advance directives, including living wills and durable powers of attorney for healthcare, to outline their preferences for medical treatment, life-sustaining measures, and end-of-life care. These documents ensure their wishes are respected and followed, even if they become unable to communicate or make decisions.

What resources are available in California to support individuals and families navigating end-of-life care decisions?

California offers a variety of resources to support individuals and families navigating end-of-life care decisions, including hospice programs, palliative care services, support groups, and counseling services. Organizations like End of Life Choices California provide information, guidance, and assistance to individuals and families facing end-of-life decisions, helping them make informed choices and access the care and support they need.

What are the different options for hospice care in California, and how can individuals access these services?

Hospice care in California provides compassionate end-of-life care to individuals with terminal illnesses, focusing on comfort and quality of life. Patients can access hospice care through Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, or out-of-pocket payments. Hospice services may be provided in a variety of settings, including the patient’s home, continuing care retirement communities, assisted living facilities ,skilled nursing facilities  or short term 24/hour care hospice centers. Individuals can discuss their options and preferences with their healthcare provider or hospice coordinator to arrange for hospice care.

Are there any support groups or counseling services available in California for individuals facing end-of-life decisions?

Yes, there are support groups and counseling services available in California for individuals facing end-of-life decisions. Organizations like End of Life Choices California, hospice programs, and healthcare facilities may offer support groups, counseling services, and educational resources to help individuals and families cope with the emotional, spiritual, and practical aspects of end-of-life care and decision-making.

How can individuals in California ensure their end-of-life care preferences are communicated and respected within the healthcare system?

Individuals in California can ensure their end-of-life care preferences are communicated and respected within the healthcare system by creating advance directives, discussing their wishes with their healthcare providers and loved ones, and appointing a healthcare proxy or power of attorney for healthcare decisions. It is important to document and update these preferences regularly and ensure they are accessible to healthcare providers when needed.

What legal protections exist for healthcare providers who participate in medical aid in dying in California?

Healthcare providers who participate in medical aid in dying in California are protected by the End of Life Option Act, which shields them from civil, criminal, or professional liability for participating in good faith compliance with the law. However, providers are not required to participate if it conflicts with their personal or professional beliefs. It is essential for providers to familiarize themselves with the legal requirements and ethical considerations surrounding medical aid in dying.

What are the ethical considerations surrounding end-of-life care and medical aid in dying in California?

The ethical considerations surrounding end-of-life care and medical aid in dying in California are complex and multifaceted. They involve balancing individual autonomy and choice with concerns about patient vulnerability, coercion, and religious beliefs. Healthcare providers, policymakers, and society as a whole must consider issues of justice, compassion, and respect for human dignity when addressing end-of-life care decisions and policies, including medical aid in dying.

Further Reading

California Department of Public Health – End of Life Option Act: Link to the official California Department of Public Health page that provides detailed information about the End of Life Option Act, including how to access the forms required for the process.
cdph.ca.gov/programs

Compassion & Choices: This organization is a leading advocate for end-of-life care options, including medical aid in dying. Their website offers resources for planning end-of-life care, understanding legal options, and stories from individuals and families who have navigated these decisions.
compassionandchoices.org

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO): For information on hospice and palliative care, the NHPCO website provides resources for finding care providers, understanding what hospice and palliative care entail, and FAQs about end-of-life care.
nhpco.org

Death with Dignity National Center: This nonprofit organization advocates for laws that allow individuals with terminal illnesses to end their lives in a dignified manner. Their website includes information on the legal status of medical aid in dying across the United States, as well as state by state resources for individuals and families.
deathwithdignity.org

The Conversation Project: Dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care, The Conversation Project offers tools, resources, and guides to facilitate meaningful conversations among family members and with healthcare providers.
theconversationproject.org

American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM): For those seeking more in-depth information on palliative care and hospice medicine, the AAHPM offers resources for professionals and the public on the latest in palliative care practices and policies.
aahpm.org

“Thank you for your help through this process. We found comfort in our phone call with you and were able to connect with a hospice company who will honor my mom's wishes to exercise MAID if need be. My mom feels a sense of relief knowing that she has options and control over her treatment. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and thank you from my parents.” SC

End of life choices California


Sign up for our Blog

 
 

You have Successfully Subscribed!