Dying patients and their families often are unaware of their various options for end-of-life care, as well as the benefits and burdens of each option. For example, hospice and palliative comfort care often extend both the quality and quantity of life, in contrast to agonizing, futile “curative” treatments that cause needless suffering. Unfortunately, while hospice use in the United States rose 6.5 percent from 2016 to 2017, New York, Alaska, New Jersey, Georgia and the District of Columbia had the lowest growth in hospice utilization, according to Home Health Care News.
In response, Compassion & Choices is sponsoring two 60 second public service announcements to educate D.C. residents about all of the end-of-life care options available in the District, including medical aid in dying authorized by D.C.’s Death with Dignity Act. Narrated by former NPR radio show host Diane Rehm and a former president of the American Medical Women’s Association, Dr. Omega Silva, the PSAs will start airing on Friday of Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31, and run about 500 times over the next few months on Comcast cable. The TV outlets include Black Entertainment TV, Bravo, Oprah Winfrey Network, MSNBC, The Weather Channel, Animal Planet, Hallmark Channel, Headline News, WE TV, TV Land, and NFL Network.
Dr. Omega Silva and Diane Rehm are trusted community leaders in D.C. with personal experiences that make them critical stakeholders in end-of-life care discussions. They graciously allowed the videotaping of the PSAs to take place in their homes to alert D.C. residents of their end-of-life care options.
Dr. Silva practiced medicine in Washington, D.C. for 50 years, but now she has an incurable cancer diagnosis. She tells D.C. residents:
“Eventually my chemotherapy treatments will stop working. The good news is there are medical options available for terminally ill adults in Washington, D.C. to relieve unbearable suffering and maximize the quality of the end of life.”
Diane Rehm spent 37 years as the host of the Diane Rehm Show on NPR and WAMU. She is a proud and vocal supporter of end-of-life care options, and wrote a book about slow and painful dying process that her late husband, John Rehm, suffered through four years ago. She tells D.C. residents:
“If you are interested in learning about all of the medical options available in D.C. for terminally ill patients, please go online to CompassionAndChoices.org/information.”
D.C. residents also can obtain information about the end-of-life care options specifically available in the District, including medical aid in dying, by calling this toll free number, 800 247 7421, or emailing [email protected].
You can watch both PSAs here.