Since laws in each area are a little different, an advance directive filled out in one state may not be honored in another state. The best way to ensure wishes are honored is to complete an advance directive for the state you live in as well as others you spend a lot of time in.

To find state-specific advance directive forms, visit Caring Info or AARP

For more information about advance care planning and to download or order a free copy of Compassion & Choices’ My End-of-Life Decisions guide and toolkit, visit Tools to Finish Strong

Plainly, simply and honestly. Speaking with one of our end-of-life consultants often helps people clarify their goals so they can more easily communicate them to others.

You can also visit our Diagnosis Decoder - a simple online tool to help you prepare for an upcoming visit with your physician. We have a version for a person with any illness, as well as more specific versions for those living with cancer or dementia. The information you get from this tool can also be shared with loved ones.

Ten states have authorized medical aid in dying: California, Colorado, Hawai‘i, Maine, Montana (via state Supreme Court ruling), New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, as well as Washington, D.C. Collectively, these 11 jurisdictions represent more than one out of five U.S. residents (22%) and have decades of combined experience successfully implementing this medical practice.

To be eligible for aid-in-dying medication, an individual must meet all four criteria:

  • An adult (aged 18 or older);
  • Terminally ill with a prognosis of six months or less to live;
  • Mentally capable of making their own healthcare decisions; and
  • Able to self-ingest the medication.

For more information about the details of medical aid in dying legislation in each jurisdiction, and the safeguards in place, you can visit our Medical Aid in Dying information page.

That depends; there are multiple options available to people across the nation. An end-of-life consultant (EOLC) can share information about the choices that are available and support those considering aid in dying based on their situation and values. More information about contacting the EOLC is listed in a question below.

In 2023, two states formally removed the residency requirement in their medical aid in dying legislation; Vermont and Oregon. Those seeking this option must still relocate, identify healthcare providers who support their option, and meet all other requirements to access the option:

  • An adult (aged 18 or older);
  • Terminally ill with a prognosis of six months or less to live;
  • Mentally capable of making their own healthcare decisions; and
  • Able to self-ingest the medication.

Though a limited number of terminally ill individuals will have the energy, resources and time to relocate to either state to use the law, it still means the world to those who are able to do it to gently end needless suffering.

If this is something you want more information about, we encourage you to contact our partner organizations in those states who are working to provide resources and care to people interested in accessing that option. You can connect with End of Life Choices Oregon here, and Patient Choices Vermont here!

We do not maintain a list of doctors who prescribe medical aid-in-dying medication. At Compassion & Choices we are working towards the goal that all providers and medical systems provide the full range of end-of-life care options. Our end-of-life consultants can provide you information on supportive healthcare systems as well as useful language to use to request a referral from your current provider or when changing healthcare providers to access supportive systems.

Our goal is to empower people to ask questions about their options, and engage in open dialogue with their healthcare team. We do have some resources that we recommend you try out in order to start that conversation, including our Diagnosis Decoder, which can help you prepare questions for an appointment with your provider.

These state-based organizations are also a great resource:

Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking (VSED) is an option for a decisionally-capable to control their death by making a conscious decision to refuse food and fluids (including artificial hydration and nutrition). VSED is legal in the United States for a person who is terminally ill to control the manner and timing of their death.

It is often an option for people living with chronic, debilitating and/or progressive illness who may not yet meet the six month prognosis required of hospice.

Significant caregiving and hospice support is recommended for anyone considering VSED. For more information about VSED, important considerations, and stories from others who have navigated this end-of-life option, visit this on this information page.

More information and resources can also be found at VSED Resources Northwest, a nonprofit organization that aims “to increase community awareness of VSED as a conscious end-of-life choice and to further its availability and access.”

Medical aid in dying is a strictly defined and regulated act in the jurisdictions where it is authorized. Only mentally capable adults with a terminal diagnosis of six months or less may self-ingest properly prescribed medication in those jurisdictions. No one may assist nor coerce this action. Compassion & Choices does not support the expansion of medical aid in dying for people with dementia.

Compassion & Choices is working to transform how people die with dementia to ensure people are aware, empowered and supported in getting the care they want – or do not want. For specialized information and resources, you can visit our dementia end-of-life care webpage which includes a few helpful tools.

One resource of note is our Dementia Values & Priorities Tool, which guides visitors through questions and curates a set of specific care instructions to their loved ones, outlining their intentions through a personalized care plan called a Dementia Healthcare Directive.

We also have the Dementia Decoder, an easy to use online tool that helps you identify the right questions to ask to get the care you want.

This is a very personal topic, so we understand that some folks may want to talk through all these resources with someone. We have a few different ways to get in touch (listed below). After your contact, a consultant will respond in 1-2 business days (Monday-Friday) depending on volume; if the office is closed, or there is a reason for additional delay, that will be noted through the voicemail message or email auto-reply.

Contact Us:

Let us know how we can support and assist you! Please review the contact methods below and provide information as possible, indicating your contact information, best times to contact you, and how we can assist you! Once you submit your information, an End-of-Life Consultant will be in touch.

If you prefer to call:

Please leave a voicemail at 1-800-247-7421. In the message, please confirm your return phone number and the state you are calling from. Let us know what information you are looking for and the best time for us to call you back. A Consultant will work to return your call in 1-2 business days (depending on volume)

Note: End-of-Life Consultation (EOLC) provides information and resources on topics related to advance care planning and end-of-life options. EOLC is not a medical hotline or mental health crisis line. If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, a mental health or substance use crisis, help is available by dialing 9-8-8 or visiting the 988Lifeline at

If you are emailing:

Please send an email to [email protected]. To help our consultants gather resources, please include your name and state you are calling from, as well as the best times to reach you, and a bit of information about you and the kinds of resources you are seeking.