What you need to know about The End of Life Option Act

Here is some timely and important information regarding ABx2 15 or The End of Life Option Act, which goes into effect on June 9th, 2016 in the State of California.
CCCC

Information from The Coalition of Compassionate Care of California website: www.Coalitionccc.org:

The End of Life Option Act (ABx2 15) authorizes an adult who meets certain qualifications, and who has been determined by his or her attending physician to be suffering from a terminal disease, as defined, to make a request for a drug prescribed pursuant to these provisions for the purpose of ending his or her life.

What are the qualifications?

Under the law, a “qualified individual” is an adult who is able to understand and make their own medical decisions and who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. To request a prescription for an aid-in-dying drug, all of the following conditions must be met:

Your attending physician must diagnose you with a terminal disease.
Your wish to receive a prescription for an aid-in-dying drug must be voluntary.
You must be a California resident and be able to establish your residency through any of the following means:
(A) A California driver license or other identification issued by the State of California.
(B) Registration to vote in California.
(C) Evidence that you own or lease property in California.
(D) Filing of a California tax return for the most recent tax year.
Your request must be documented under the requirements set forth in Section 443.3 of the law.
You must have the physical and mental ability to self-administer the aid-in-dying drug. (You cannot have someone else administer the drug.)
You will not be considered a “qualified individual” solely because of your age or disability.
A request for a prescription for an aid-in-dying drug must be made solely and directly by the individual diagnosed with the terminal disease and cannot be made on behalf of the patient by anyone else, including, but not limited to, through a power of attorney, an advance health care directive, a conservator, health care agent, surrogate, or any other legally recognized health care decisionmaker.

What is a terminal diagnosis?

A terminal diagnosis is defined as an incurable and irreversible disease that has been medically confirmed and will, within reasonable medical judgment, result in death within six (6) months. (Health & Safety Code §443.5 (a)(1)(B); §443.1(q).)

“Medically confirmed” means the medical diagnosis and prognosis of the attending physician has been confirmed by a consulting physician who has examined the individual and the individual’s relevant medical records. (Health & Safety Code §443.1(j).)

Education: End-Of-Life Conversation Training

As a healthcare professional it is crucial for you to know how to respond to inquiries about the End of Life Option Act. 

The Coalition for Compassionate Care of California does not take a position on the End of Life Option Act, but we are experts in helping healthcare professionals learn how to have quality conversations with patients about serious illness, the end of life, life-sustaining treatments, advance directives and POLST.

Learn to navigate difficult discussions with patients and loved ones with these education opportunities:

Resources

A number of organizations have published information related to the End of Life Option Act. Here are a few which may be relevant to CCCC members:

The Coalition for Compassionate Care of California continues to hold our focus on how to achieve the best possible care for seriously ill patients and their families.

Our goal is to assist healthcare professionals with learning how to guide patients in exploring their options for care during a serious illness, help patients express their informed choices, and strengthen the healthcare environment where those personal choices will be honored.