End-of-Life Choice, Palliative Care and Counseling

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Compassion & Choices Launches Campaign to Legalize Aid in Dying in California

NPR’s “The California Report” aired interviews today with Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee and a local advocate from San Mateo, Jennifer Glass, about our new campaign to legalize aid in dying in California. It started with a series of online ads last week to educate state residents.

“The time is now,” says Coombs Lee. “We all together have made a commitment to see aid in dying accessible, transparent, available to Californians within five years.”

When Glass was diagnosed with lung cancer last year, her mind immediately raced to a vision of a messy, chaotic death.

“The idea that my life is going to end was not so frightening to me,” she says. “The idea that I might drown in my own lung fluid while my family watches me suffer. That is terrifying.”

Glass, 50, says at least having the option of controlling when and how she dies would bring her peace.

You can listen to the audio of the full story here.

 You can read the full story text here.

We Won’t Back Down

Dr. Charlie Hamlin and Jay Patel at the Connecticut Capitol

Popular support doesn’t always translate into political will – at least immediately. So despite a heroic effort in both Connecticut and Massachusetts, we advanced bills in both states but did not get them out of committee this year.

Lawmakers on the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Health opted to further study the aid-in-dying bill, which means it won’t be considered until the 2015 session.

In the lead-up to legislative action, the C&C Massachusetts team focused on educating lawmakers about the crucial need for aid in dying. C&C followed up a standing-room-only December public hearing with an aggressive campaign for the legislation, starting with a citizen lobbying day February 26. Advocates delivered more than 7,000 petitions from state residents who want aid-in-dying legislation and brought another 40 constituents to lobby their elected representatives in person. Extensive news coverage amplified the advocates’ voices: Boston’s NPR station, the Boston Globe and several other state papers, and two local TV stations covered the event. And C&C deployed a savvy campaign of online, radio and newspapers ads. More

Volunteer Spotlight: Barbara Engdahl

When Barbara Engdahl read about Compassion & Choices in a magazine five years ago, she immediately called to volunteer. Her career as a social worker helping patients and their families deal with injury, illness, disability and death – and her own mother’s death when she was 11 years old – have given Barbara the wisdom and acceptance to support others at life’s end.

“I am so grateful to be able to do this work. It gives such meaning to my life,” Barbara, a native Californian, explains. “Our clients are amazing people. Very independent and determined to be in charge until the end, because they have been in charge most of their lives. They’re an inspiration to me. I would like to meet my death as bravely as I have seen our clients do.” More

April 16: The Day Our Country Talks About Advance Planning

Planning a vacation is fun. Planning a wedding is exciting. Planning a meeting is important. Planning for your future healthcare is critical, which is why Compassion & Choices makes such a big deal out of National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD).

Every April 16, a coalition of more than 100 national organizations mobilizes to talk to as many Americans as possible about getting their healthcare wishes written down and expressing those wishes to their family, loved ones and healthcare providers. That means making sure you have an advance directive, which includes a living will (describing the treatment you want) and a durable power of attorney (designating the person who will speak for you) in the event that you are sick and cannot speak for yourself. Compassion & Choices has the tools you need to get your advance planning process started. Visit our website today by clicking here. More

National Healthcare Decisions Day around the web