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!
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.