1. Know and honor your choices. “We find that what makes the dying process less scary is having agency over how that’s going to happen,” “That means everything from stopping treatment to pursuing all treatment options, from dying at home to hospice care. There’s no right or wrong; it’s all about personal choice.”
2. Talk to the people you love. Let your loved ones or caregivers know what your choices are and what your values are, so they can help you honor them.
3. Ask your physician if you can count on their support. “One of our greatest challenges is the growing number of medical systems that do not support patient requests to access medical aid-in-dying,” Kinney says. About 45% of Washington’s health care systems are run by nonsecular organizations that do not condone Death with Dignity. As a result, seven out of 10 End of Life Washington (EOLWA) clients need help finding the two providers required by law to access medical aid in dying. The time needed to find two supportive providers contributes to only one in four EOLWA clients dying within the 15-day waiting period required by law.
There also are equity challenges surrounding access to end-of-life options. Limited integration of medical aid-in-dying in health care systems contributes to some communities having even less access. For example, the Washington State Department of Health indicates that 96% of people accessing medical aid in dying live west of the Cascades, and 98% of them are white.
4. Surround yourself with people who will support your decision. This includes friends, loved ones, health care providers, and support groups. The EOLWA design is the first in the nation to include support at no charge from a volunteer throughout the entire process.” The client is never alone,” Kinney says, “because no one should ever die alone.”