As part of our mission, Compassion & Choices is committed to the promotion and development of patient-centered care. Education about the incredible value of hospice and palliative care for patients and families is a key part of informed consent: part of our Patient Centered Principles, which recognizes that people must have comprehensive, candid information in order to make valid decisions and give informed consent.
It’s been a milestone year for awareness around palliative care. From studies that show early palliative intervention helps cancer patients to live longer to Dr. Atul Gawande’s candid articles and interviews on the struggles talking with terminal patients about death, we are watching a blossoming of patient empowerment.
As part of National Hospice & Palliative Care Month, Compassion & Choices is also celebrating the passage of Right-To-Know Acts in California and New York. These laws make it much easier for patients to obtain information on all of their legal end-of-life options. These victories bring the total to 5 states (including Oregon, Washington and Montana) to embrace laws around end-of-life choice.
There’s still much to do. We know that interventions designed to improve doctor-patient communication still have a lot of room for improvement. And there are still many states that don’t have patient-centered health care laws on the books or as part of medical standard of care.