End-of-Life Choice, Palliative Care and Counseling

A Booming Movementby Sonja

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Compassion & Choices is able to expand core programs this year, enlist new backers and support enthusiastic advocates on the ground … because of your support. Strategic changes across the organization are designed to drive the growth of the movement and more rapid achievement of our shared goals.

Our national programs and state legislative work will be enhanced by the creation of a policy and advocacy department intended to add new, specialized staff to drive our national campaigns on improving end-of-life care as well as our state legislative efforts, which are largely focused on passing death-with-dignity laws. By the end of the year, Compassion & Choices plans to add an in-house research director to provide a stronger policy foundation for our campaigns. A new program director comes on board soon to coordinate and expand our efforts on laws and policies to end unwanted medical treatment and improve end-of-life options. Experienced staff will provide field support to our on-the-ground teams in active campaign states, intensifying our effective campaigns to advance our death-with-dignity work. They’ll also provide continued outreach to our local groups and individual advocates in order to nurture them as they build a groundswell of support for legal aid in dying.

Even as we expand our legislative and policy work, we are increasing our direct service to families preparing for or facing the end of life of a loved one. Due partly to the increase in demand by hundreds of calls – thousands of volunteer hours – each year, the End-of-Life Consultation (EOLC) service now falls within the newly formed Client and Family Services alongside other complementary programs. Client and Family Services is designed to offer a more comprehensive array of support starting earlier in the end-of-life process. That way we can assist the entire family of a terminally ill client, or adults at any phase of their life, in their planning and objectives. As Director of Client and Family Services Trish Bernstein describes, “Overall, it will be a very broad umbrella to address every end-of-life option, process, form and resource in the country, regardless of where clients live. The goal is that no matter who calls us, we have something to offer them.” EOLC will remain the resource for those who call for information specifically about aid in dying. Other planned divisions within Client and Family Services will cater to providers of senior services such as assisted-living facilities and nursing homes, hospice organizations, doctors and other health professionals, and younger adults seeking advance preparation advice on behalf of their aging parents or to be well-prepared themselves.

This progress is exciting – and essential. Chief Program Officer Mickey MacIntyre explains, “Baby boomers are facing death through their parents’ eyes and seeing their own fate. The vision is clear: We should all have access to state-of-the-art care and the full range of choices for dying in comfort, dignity and control. This growth of Compassion & Choices and the end-of-life choice movement is not only an accomplishment of our supporters, but a necessity for millions of Americans.”

Your support makes it possible for us expand in strategic ways that help us lead the movement and achieve our collective goals more quickly. To find out more about our broadening initiatives and how you can be a part of them, watch for e-mail updates and visit your state page.