Tools to Finish Strong

Compassion & Choices is proud to offer a host of tools and resources to help you and your loved ones “finish strong” by planning for an end-of-life experience that matches the life you’ve enjoyed – defined by love, purpose and agency. Finish Strong tools include online and print resources specifically designed to address planning your end-of-life care at every state, even after a dementia diagnosis.

Print and Online Resources

The End-of-Life Decisions Guide and Toolkit

The End-of-Life Decisions Guide and Toolkit

Compassion & Choices’ My End-of-Life Decisions: An Advance Planning Guide and Toolkit will help you work through your end-of-life priorities and empower you to have valuable discussions with your healthcare providers. It includes tear-out sheets for advance care planning. The 40-page toolkit is available for download or a free hard copy can be ordered. Some of the unique and important features of this toolkit are:

  • The Values Worksheet includes a series of questions that help you think through your priorities for care at life’s end.
  • An Assisted-Living Facility Rider helps ensure that an assisted-living facility will respect a resident’s wishes for end-of-life care.
  • Hospital Visitation Form helps ensure that people you most want to be with you are admitted on a priority basis, whether or not they are family members.
  • Sectarian Healthcare Directive helps ensure that a patient’s instructions will be respected in a situation where institutional policy conflicts with those instructions and that, depending on state law, the provider will assist with the transfer.
  • My Particular Wishes is meant to inform physicians, nurses or other care providers of your consent to or refusal of certain specific therapies. It also guides a family member or any other person you name in making decisions for you, if you cannot articulate these decisions yourself.

Dementia Values & Priorities Tool

This interactive tool will document your wishes regarding the care you want and create an addendum that can be added to your existing Advance Directive.

LGBTQ+ Advance Care Planning Tookit

lgbtq advance care planning toolkit

Compassion & Choices is proud to partner with SAGE to create a comprehensive end of life planning guide for LGBTQ+ people, by LGBTQ+ people. This tool walks through decisions around health care proxies, hospice care, how we honor life, and so much more. An excellent resource for individuals, chosen family members, and professionals working in deathcare

Finish Strong | The Book

Finish Strong: Putting Your Priorities First at Life’s End, by President Emerita / Senior Adviser of Compassion & Choices, Barbara Coombs Lee, is the guide to achieving the positive end-of-life experience you want and deserve. Finish Strong is for those who know they should prepare for the end of life, but are unsure how to think and talk about it. The book aims to help you live true to your values and priorities as vigor wanes, and how to make sure your wishes are honored. This book describes concrete action to take in the here and now, to help live your best life to the end.

Clinician Conversation Toolkit

Studies show the single most powerful thing a person can do to improve the chance for gentle dying, is simply an courageously, talk about it with your clinicians. Our toolkit provides you with a step-by-step guide to finding clinicians who will support you in advance and during a serious diagnosis. This includes:

  • Our simple Finding a Partner Doctor postcard, which provides you with a list of the questions to ask to ensure you and your provider are on the same page.
  • Information about our Doc to Doc Consultation Program, a resource you can provide to your clinicians if they have questions about how to legally support your end-of-life wishes including information on medical aid in dying, voluntarily stopping eating and drinking, palliative sedation, and more.
  • Links to our powerful diagnosis decoder, an easy-to-use online tool that helps you find the right questions to ask to get the care you want. This includes a version for a person with any illness, as well as a customized version for those facing cancer or dementia.
Diagnosis Decoder tool on a iMac monitor

Advanced Directive Forms

Find your state's advance directive at CaringInfo

Medical Aid in Dying Information Packets in Authorized States

State-specific booklets that provide step-by-step instructions for how to use the law, how to find a physician and what to consider when talking with your physician. Also see the Medical Aid in Dying tracking sheet

Stories

Michelle Wickum holding a photo of her father in his military uniform.

Michelle Wickum

After Michelle lost her father to suicide, she became an advocate for advance care planning and end-of-life options.
“Dad’s suicide opened my eyes to just how taboo conversations about death and the end of life are in our society. It brought home to me my own mortality.”

Rod Azama

Colonel Rod Azama traveled with his wife from Maryland to Oregon so she could end her suffering from stage 4 cancer.
“Medical aid in dying allowed my wife to end her physical suffering and cross into the next life the way she wanted, on her own terms, with grace. But she shouldn’t have had to travel out of state to do it.”
Rod Azama and his wife Susan dressed up and out to dinner.
Lou Anne Smoot seated on a couch smiling

Lou Anne Smoot

When Lou Anne Smoot’s mother chose at age 90 to stop eating and cease all medication, Lou Anne supported her through the process.
“After witnessing my mother’s easy passing, I feel a sense of power and hope that I too am capable of dying the way I want.”

Vickie George

Co-founder and president of Yes U Can USA, Vickie George advocates for autonomy in healthcare decisions for people with disabilities.
“I want to maintain autonomy over my personal healthcare decisions at the end of my life, just as I have throughout my life.”
Vickie George with a fishing pole and a recently caught Fish
Linda Rogen sits in a hammock with a yellow dog draped over her lap.

Linda Rogen

Living with early-stage Alzheimer’s, Linda Rogen is considering voluntarily stopping eating and drinking (VSED) as an end-of-life option.
Linda Rogen is living with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease and has explored voluntarily stopping eating and drinking (VSED) as an option for responding to her progressive illness.

José Alejandro Lemuz

José Alejandro Lemuz [1963-2024] fue el primer Latino en anunciar públicamente su plan de utilizar ayuda médica para morir.
“Solamente yo sé lo que estoy viviendo. Quiero que mis médicos entiendan y respeten la decisión que he tomado.”
Don José Alejandro Lemuz resting on a pillow
Don José Alejandro Lemuz resting on a pillow

José Alejandro Lemuz

José Alejandro Lemuz [1963-2024] was the first Latino to publicly announce his plan to use medical aid in dying.
“Only I know what I’m going through. I want my doctors to understand and respect the decision I have made.”

Marcy Lehman

Marcy Lehman’s father, Ted Rubenstein, availed himself of Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act after two years of living with stomach cancer.
“I feel sadness and peace, yet I have no regrets. When a loved one passes on their own terms, it doesn’t weigh heavily on the heart.”
Marcy Lehman Seated in a blue chair wearing a black dress
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