Friday, February 2, 2018

Colorado’s Official 1st Annual Report on End-of-Life Options

PRESS RELEASE: Colorado’s Official 1st Annual Report on End-of-Life Options Act Show It’s Working Well

Detailed Data Confirms Medical Aid-in-Dying Law Is Working as Voters Intended

(Denver – Feb. 1, 2018) Compassion & Choices lauds Colorado’s first report detailing usage of the End-of-Life Options Act during its first year of implementation.

Colorado is one of six states, along with the District of Columbia, where medical aid in dying is authorized as an option for mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live to end unbearable suffering for a peaceful death. The other five states are California, Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

The official report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment shows the Colorado law is working well, as voters intended when they passed it by a 30-point margin (65% vs. 35%) in November 2016.

The report by Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Center for Health and Environmental Data shows:
  • 69 terminally ill adults with six months or fewer to live utilized the option under the law to request a doctor’s prescription for medication they could decide to take to die peacefully in their sleep if their end-of-life suffering became unbearable.
  • 56 of the 69 people who qualified for the medication, either took it, died from their terminal disease or some other cause, according to their death certificates.
  • 52 of the 56 people who died (93%) were enrolled in hospice care.
  • 37 Colorado physicians wrote prescriptions for aid-in-dying medication.
  • 19 Colorado pharmacists dispensed aid-in-dying medication.
The report also included four tables of detailed statistics including:
  1. Underlying terminal illnesses/conditions among patients prescribed aid-in-dying medication.
  2. Categories of medications dispensed to patients prescribed aid-in-dying medication.
  3. Summary of patients who died following prescription of aid-in-dying medication, including by sex, age group, race/ethnicity, marital status, education, county of residence, place of death and hospice enrollment status.

Colorado residents and medical providers can find more information about medical aid-in-dying, including videos, forms and the Find Care Tool which identifies hospitals, clinics and hospices which have adopted policies supportive of patients who may choose medical aid in dying as one of their end-of-life care options at CompassionAndChoices.org/Colorado.

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Compassion & Choices is the oldest nonprofit working to improve care and expand options for the end of life in the United States, with 450,000 members nationwide. For more information, visit: CompassionAndChoices.org/Colorado.

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