End-of-Life Choice, Death with Dignity, Palliative Care and Counseling


Aid-in-Dying Glossary

advance directive – Encompasses both living wills and medical durable power of attorney. This term is singular unless you are referring to multiple copies of these forms. Do not capitalize. Do not abbreviate. Example: We distributed advance directives to the family members.

aid in dying – aid in dying is a practice, legal only in Oregon, Washington and Montana, that allows mentally competent, terminally ill adults to request a prescription for life-ending medication from their physician. This medication must be self-administered. Always use aid in dying instead of assisted dying, physician-assisted suicide or death with dignity. This phrase is hyphenated when used as a modifier. Example: In Washington we passed an aid-in-dying bill. Or, aid in dying has been legal in Oregon since 1994 and Washington and Montana since 2008.

choice in dying – To be used to describe our movement. Use instead of right to die or end-of-life choice. This phrase is hyphenated when used as a modifier. Example: The choice-in-dying movement began in the US more than 25 years ago. – or – Choice in dying, as a movement, began in the US more than 25 years ago.

client – Describes a person who is being served by our End-of-Life Consultation program. Use instead of patient.

Death with Dignity Act – Oregon’s landmark aid-in-dying law enacted in 1997. Beginning in October 2006, also the value-neutral term used by the Oregon Department of Human Services’ (DHS) to describe practice under the law. Example: “…persons who use the Oregon Death with Dignity Act.” The same name refers to the Washington law, legalized in 2008.

End-of-Life Consultation Program – This free service provides counseling to terminally ill clients and their loved ones seeking support in making the choices necessary to prepare for a peaceful death. Offers assistance in completing advance directives, makes referrals to local services, gives guidance on pain and syptom control and provides information on options for humane, self-determined dying. Capitalize the program name only. Use instead of Caring Friends or case management. DO not capitalize when referring to client support as a general service; e.g., Compassion & Choices provided client support.

hospice – An organization offering comfort care for the dying when medical treatment is no longer expected to cure the disease or prolong life. Hospice is provided wherever the person resides. The term may also apply to an insurance benefit that pays the costs of comfort care (usually at home) for patients with a prognosis of six months or less.

living will – A term commonly substituted for ‘advance directive.’ However, ‘advance directive’ is the preferred term. Please see Advance Directive.

palliative/total sedation – Also referred to as terminal sedation. The continuous administration of medication to relieve severe, intractable symptoms that cannot be controlled while keeping the patient conscious. This state is maintained until death occurs.

physician-assisted suicide – An inaccurate and biased term often used to describe a terminally ill, mentally competent person’s choice to control the manned and time of death by self-administered life-ending medications prescribed by a physician. Preferred language is aid in dying.

supporters – Inclusive term used to describe the total number of members and donors as one group of 50,000 (30,000 members and 20,000 donors.)

terminal, terminally – Describes an illness for which the medical expectation is death within a few months. Use instead of incurable or mortal. Example: We provide support to terminally ill people.

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