Working to Realize Greater Humanity at Life’s End: A Note From the CEO
Compassion & Choices is expanding our efforts to address disparities at the end of life.
As we enter the lazy days of summer, I can’t help but think it is anything but.
The sight of George Floyd dying on the streets of Minneapolis under a police officer’s knee sparked expressions of rage and frustration that were long overdue. The anger that ignited in the streets from this injustice and the many before Mr. Floyd shines a light on the systemic racism that plagues our country.
In this issue, two of my colleagues — Donna Smith and Jonathan Patterson — give impassioned accounts of the challenges they and their communities face daily as a result of discrimination. Unfortunately, our nation’s health system is plagued with racism, discrimination and bias, too.
Underserved populations face systemic barriers to accessing adequate healthcare on a regular basis, including end-of-life care. This is one of the primary reasons that they are less likely to fill out advance directives, that they do not receive adequate pain medication and that they are less likely to access hospice and palliative care. The experience results in far greater suffering at life’s end — an experience that is counter to our mission and vision. However, making statements is not enough. Action is needed to address this reality. In the newsletter, we also provide a two-year progress report on Compassion & Choices’ efforts to diversify the movement and address disparities in end-of-life care.
While we have expanded our efforts to address disparities in end-of-life care, our work to advance medical aid in dying has not slowed down. My spirits were buoyed this month when, for the first time, the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Health advanced the Massachusetts End of Life Options Act (H.4782/S.2745) out of committee. Read more about the status of this legislation and potential for Massachusetts to become the 11th state to authorize medical aid in dying.
While the current affairs in our country have left many in a state of despair, our work at Compassion & Choices has been a source of comfort for me and so many others. It provides us with tangible and meaningful ways that we can contribute to realizing greater humanity at life’s end. Our progress has been and continues to be possible because of your support. For that and for you, I am grateful.