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

victoria beelik

Victoria Beelik

Victoria Beelik reflects on her experiences taking care of her parents at the end of their lives and the contrast in their last day.
“My dad was able to pass gently and with peace, but 10 months later, my mom passed away with great suffering and fear. I can never unsee what happened with my mom.”

Mike Reagan

Mike Reagan, Peaceful Presence End-of-Life Services founder, recounts his experiences and insights as a death doula in Colorado.
“In an ideal world, all doctors would suspend personal judgment on the ethics of medical aid in dying and surrender to a position of respecting and facilitating their patients’ wishes.”
mike reagan headshot
suzie flack with son andrew

Suzy Flack

Suzy Flack’s son, Andrew, died peacefully using California’s medical aid-in-dying law. Illinois does not yet allow the option.
“Andrew died peacefully because of the option of medical aid in dying in California, where he lived. I’m comforted by that. I also wish he could have had that option here in Illinois.”

Nancy Uden

Nancy Uden is living with an aggressive type of brain cancer and advocating for the option of medical aid in dying in Minnesota.
“Years before my diagnosis, I told my family that I don’t want to die an ugly death. I don’t want it for me, and I don’t want it for them. No one wants that for their loved ones.”
Nancy Uden with her husband and their dog
brian moffett and son jake

Brian Moffett

Lifelong New Yorker Brian Moffett is living with ALS and advocating for the option of medical aid in dying in his home state.
“I'm sitting here, physically and mentally suffering, scared of what’s next. It's time that New York lawmakers do the right thing for people like me.”

Mariah Riess

End-of-life doula and grief specialist Mariah Riess reflects on her experiences helping clients with end-of-life care and planning.
“We all need to understand the various dimensions involved in a life ending — after all, everyone’s does.”
mariah riess
sera passalaqua and her sister christina

Sera Passalaqua

Sera’s sister Christina used California’s End of Life Option Act to escape the relentless and excruciating pain caused by pancreatic cancer.
“Our family is grateful for the control and peace Chris found in the option of medical aid in dying.”

Lauren Sapienza

Lauren Sapienza’s mother wanted the option of medical aid in dying to end her suffering from a rare form of bladder cancer.
“It was so incredibly painful to listen to Mom clearly request medical aid in dying and to have her healthcare team unable to help her.”
lauren sapinza and her mom mary sapienza in nyc
Compassion & Choices
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VICTORY: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed the improved End-of-Life Options Act.

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