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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Compassion & Choices

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Right to Die & Euthanasia

Mission: Compassion & Choices is the nation’s oldest, largest and most active nonprofit organization committed to improving care and expanding options for the end of life. Our vision is a society where people receive state-of-the-art care and a full range of choices for dying in comfort, dignity and control. We aim to ensure individuals understand the risks and rewards of all feasible treatment options, treatment decisions are fully respected, and that care reflects a person’s values and priorities for life’s final chapter.

Results: WE EXPAND We work to bring end-of-life autonomy to Americans in every state by expanding our volunteer base of storytellers, activists and organizational partners; growing the number of lawmakers who back our legislation as well as local officials and faith leaders; persuading medical associations and professional groups to adopt a position on medical aid in dying that recognizes people should be in charge of end-of-life decisions; and litigating in court to ensure patients’ values and beliefs are respected and honored at the end of life. WE PROTECT Through political, legal and educational efforts, we protect the options we’ve secured and work to make patient autonomy the standard of medical care. More specifically, we partner with pro bono attorneys to defend and represent the will of the people; mobilize 450,000 supporters to raise their voices; and establish medical aid in dying as an essential component of patient-centered care. WE IMPLEMENT We ensure that people can access a full range of end-of-life options through their own doctors and in their preferred medical setting. More specifically, we educate the public about medical aid-in-dying laws in authorized states; persuade health systems to adopt policies that support patient’s rights; provide sample institutional policies to medical staff and deliver confidential one-on-one consultations to medical professionals. WE EMPOWER Compassion & Choices’ End-of-Life Information Center and Truth in Treatment™ initiative help people take charge of their healthcare, navigate a challenging health system and ultimately achieve a peaceful death. Through these programs we provide online tools such as our Diagnosis Decoder™ and Trust Card™, which are designed to help people foster a trusting relationship with their healthcare providers. We offer resources to help people plan for a peaceful death, including state-specific advance directives, and provide free, confidential telephone consultations with trained experts to connect patients and caregivers with the tools and support they need to navigate the medical system.

Geographic areas served: Nationwide

Community Stories

11 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering can feel like undervalued work -- but not at Compassion and Choices. Thoughtful training, a super-appreciative staff and meaningful work made all the difference when I came on as a volunteer. This is an organization that recognizes the importance of its supporters and volunteers, and does everything possible to help us give them our best.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've encountered many compassionate people in the organization who were very helpful.
I'm a cancer patient with concerns. I was given written information as well as many helpful websites. I even got a website for doctors and pharmacists who may require advice.

I can't think of a more deserving organization than Compassionate and Choices to be on your list. I still have cancer, but no longer have questions or fears thanks to the wonderful people at Compassion and Choices.

Wolf Breiman

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer for Compassion & Choices to help pass "End of Life Option Act" (Death with Dignity), I had the best experience in my 80 years of life. I volunteered almost as a full-time worker, and I met the most wonderful, compassionate people whose goal to help patients achieve their Constitutional right (to choose to end extreme suffering). The law passed and I carry with pride my part in helping. I've done a lot of volunteering in my adult life, and I've never met finer people working toward an extraordinary goal which was achieved.
I consider it a privilege to have worked with such intelligent, helpful people.
The photo is of me at a rally before the law for "Death with Dignity" was passed.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with this nonprofit for many years, starting in the early 90s as a member and donor (when the organization had a different name) . In 2011 I began volunteering for Compassion & Choices and it was then that I was able to truly appreciate the value of what this organization does. The mission of this dedicated group of people is to provide the option for a dignified, physician-assisted death for terminally ill individuals, and to give them autonomy and decreased suffering at the end of life. They believe, and I strongly agree, that this choice is a basic human right that should be available to all Americans. They have been successful in making this a reality in several states and are striving to add more states where this humane and compassionate practice is legal. They have also taken up the important cause of preventing unwanted medical treatment, which occurs all too often.

Compassion & Choices should definitely be recognized as a top-rated nonprofit!

Susan Woods
Portland, Oregon

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

If we stand by and watch the pain unfold in a persons life and do nothing about it; then thats our stand.
C&C has rallied a call for Action and I so wish there was such a group I could've offered to a dear friend of mine who had dnr directives in place and ended up 9 weeks starving to death on morphine patches all alone in his apartment controlled by a home hospice who checked in on him daily then left him alone. My Dad didn't know the option of choosing death. Instead he suffered for years declining from liver cancer which finally he gave into. Horrible stories of family members and friends are numerous. My own call to Action is moving terminally ill adults to any state they want to go to regardless of finances or what reasons they have for the move. Movemehome@gmail.com

Review from Guidestar

3 Norma C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization has been at the forefront for years in teaching folks how to prepare for dying: Advance Directives, withholding invasive treatments where the side effects are sometimes worse than the illness, supporting terminally ill people, and providing consul to folks at the end of their lives. More recently, they have been very active in the legislative side of the right-to-die using medically prescribed drugs. This is an idea whose time has come...and I'M ALL FOR IT. And if someone is not "for it"....that's fine too...but legally we should have a choice. This organization is helpful for anyone who will eventually die...all others should put their money into saving the planet....no sense living forever if the earth doesn't go along with the program!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Compassion and Choices is a powerful non-profit offering advocacy, education, and support to people at the end of their lives. The goal of the organization is to educate, consumers, medical personal, medical entities like hospitals, insurance companies, Hospices, and legislators about Medical Aid in Dying which has been legal in Oregon since 1997.
They also provide direct support to the dying, their families, and their medical providers. In every state in the country. They are an advocacy group that has worked hard to pass Medical Aid in Dying in Oregon, Washington State, Montana, Vermont, California, and are on the ballot in Colorado.
As a national organization they are second to none in utilizing their donations to the maximum. It always amazes me what so few people can accomplish with so little! I nominate them as an outstanding non-profit!!!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I learned about this organization when I was looking for a group that deals with my concerns about having a choice about how I might die. I have had many exchanges with the staff , and I have started working with a group in Clearwater FL. I think these issues are extremely important, and I like the thoughtful, caring way this organization approaches them.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I counsel clients of Compassion & Choices. They are self referred to the local chapter. I engage clients to explore their choices for medical care when they know they have only a few months to live. Their legal options include some that are not normally discussed by Hospice or their physician. I join my fellow volunteers on monthly phone conferences where politics, the law, and state and federal legislation is clarified. My only role in the Compassion and Choices organization is to promote autonomy and liberty for personal choices of medical care at the end of life.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I raise the subject among friends about personal choice in dying, there is broad agreement that they would like to have control of their death. Since my training as a Compassion & Choices volunteer I have had excellent support from the professional team in being informed before visiting a client and throughout the process of supporting the client. I am pleased that Washington State has followed the Oregon model and am hopeful that my state, Florida will begin to see the light.

31 JUDITH Bortz

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Friends sometimes ask me how I can work with clients who are dying. Isn't it difficult? Depressing? Here's my answer: I've been a volunteer with Compassion and Choices for more than four years and find it enriching, important work. Supporting patients and their families at a critical time is rewarding. One of my clients, S., diagnosed with terminal cancer ,wrote the following after finding Compassion and Choices: "I now have the knowledge that I don't have to suffer, and that information is enough to give me a new life. I simply needed to know that I could have control over my life." He died peacefully 20 months later. Whether it's assisting someone to complete an Advance Directive, talk to a doctor about end-of-life wishes, find a hospice, or just to be there to help a client make sense of the dying process, I find my work for Compassion and Choices deeply satisfying.