End-of-Life Choice, Palliative Care and Counseling

New Poll: Oregon and Washington Residents Lead Nation on Informed Choice at the End of Lifeby Sonja

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National Journal-Regence Poll:
Over 70% OR and WA Voters Support Death With Dignity Acts

Compassion & Choices (C&C), the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit advocating for
better end-of-life care and choices today responded to the recent poll “Living Well at
the End of Life,” conducted by The National Journal and Regence Foundation. The poll
reaffirms that Washingtonians and Oregonians prefer to enhance the quality of their life
when faced with a serious illness, rather than extending their lives with every possible
medical intervention. Public opinion research has consistently found that Americans
want terminally ill individuals to have the right to make their own informed choices at
the end of life.

“The vast majority of Americans want to know about their end-of-life choices, and it’s
no accident that Oregon and Washington are way ahead of the rest of the country,” said
Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion & Choices. “The poll demonstrates that
Oregon and Washington, the two states with voter-enacted Death With Dignity laws,
lead the nation in communication and informed choice at the end of life. Aid in dying
has driven a conversation about end-of-life choices that has informed healthcare
recipients and improved outcomes for peaceful dying and uncomplicated grieving. .
Opponents claim aid in dying undermines other options, but the poll proves the
opposite. Informed patients, empowered with a range of end-of-life options, can
navigate the end of their lives according to their own values and beliefs.”

The poll compared responses from Oregon and Washington voters to national results.
On every question, Oregon and Washington voters far outpaced the nation in their
knowledge of end-of-life care and options. They also chose quality over quantity at the
end of life.

Below are some excerpts from the recent poll of 600 registered voters each in both
Oregon and Washington.

Now, thinking about these issues from a different perspective… I’m going to read you
the names of some different policies in (Oregon/Washington) and first please tell me if
you’ve heard of it, then please tell me if you have a favorable or unfavorable impression
of it.

33. The (next/first) one is the Death with Dignity Act…The Death with Dignity Act was
(approved by Oregon voters in 1994 and reaffirmed in 1997 / approved by Washington
voters in 2008). This act allows doctors to prescribe medicine for some of the most
seriously ill patients to take in order to voluntarily bring about their own death.
Now that you’ve heard some more information, do you generally have a favorable or
unfavorable opinion of this program? [IF FAVORABLE/UNFAVORABLE, ASKED:] Do you have a VERY (favorable/unfavorable) or a
SOMEWHAT(favorable/unfavorable) impression of The Death With Dignity Act?
OR WA
52% 44% Very Favorable
26% 25% Somewhat Favorable
7% 11% Somewhat Unfavorable
13% 16% Very Unfavorable
77% 70% TOTAL FAVORABLE

To view the poll’s topline results, click here: Living Well at the End of Life Poll-Topline Results.