End-of-Life Care Group Launches Statewide Campaign to Ensure Successful Implementation of New Medical Aid-in-Dying Law in Hawai‘i

Compassion & Choices Drawing on 20 Years of Implementation Experience
April 30, 2018

Kat West is Compassion & Choices’ National Director of Policy and Programs and interim Hawai‘i state director.

Compassion & Choices Hawai‘i today launched a public education campaign to prepare for the implementation of the Our Care, Our Choice Act, which goes into effect on January 1, 2019. The Hawai‘i Access Campaign is a volunteer-led effort to educate the community, healthcare professionals and systems to ensure terminally ill adults in Hawai‘i have meaningful access to the new law.

Signed into law on April 5 by Governor David Ige, the Our Care, Our Choice Act authorizes medical aid in dying as an end-of-life care option to end unbearable suffering. It is the medical practice which gives terminally ill adults with a prognosis of six months or fewer to live, and who are mentally capable of making their own healthcare decisions, the option of seeking a prescription for medication to die peacefully in their sleep.

Compassion & Choices has over 20 years of experience helping states implement medical aid-in-dying laws.

“We know from experience that when this law goes into effect on January 1st — eight months from now — there will be dying patients making requests of their doctors for this compassionate end-of-life care option so medical providers need to be ready to provide it,” said Kat West, national director of policy and programs. “That’s why Compassion & Choices will begin reaching out to healthcare systems, hospices, physicians and pharmacists now.”

In coordination with government agencies, healthcare-related associations, healthcare systems and providers, and community leaders, Compassion & Choices’ Hawai‘i Access Campaign is a three-year, multi-language effort that will:

  1. establish local public outreach teams on each island;
  2. provide free education and materials for doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other healthcare providers including webinars, videos and Doc2Doc consultation calls;
  3. provide technical and policy assistance to hospitals, clinics, hospices and pharmacies statewide; and
  4. work with government agencies, medical associations, and any other ancillary organizations to ensure broad understanding of the law and meaningful access for those who need it.

Educational resources for patients and providers can be found at compassionandchoices.org/hawaii/. The site will soon be updated to include information in Tagalog, Ilocano and Japanese languages, informational videos, a request form for educational presentations, and a research tool to help patients locate providers who will honor their choices.

In the meantime, open and proactive patient-provider discussion about all their end-of-life care options is key to smooth and successful preparation to implement the law in a timely fashion.

“We encourage residents, no matter which island they reside on, to initiate conversations with their doctors now about whether their doctor would support them if they were to become terminally ill and request medical aid in dying. We know from experience it is only way that residents can ensure that they will get the care they want at the end of life,” West said.

Compassion & Choices
Media Contacts

Sean Crowley
Media Relations Director
[email protected]

Patricia A. González-Portillo
National Latino Media Director
[email protected]
(323) 819 0310

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