1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

Discuss in my forum

California's Terminal Patients’ Right to Know End-of-Life Options Act

A Patient's Right to Know

By

Updated November 11, 2008

In September of 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California signed the Terminal Patients’ Right to Know End-of-Life Options Act, making California the first in the nation to provide terminally ill patients with a full disclosure of, and counseling about, all available end-of-life care options accepted in law and medicine.

According to the act, at a patient's request a physician must provide information about palliative care, hospice care, refusal or withdrawing of life-prolonging treatments, voluntary stopping eating and drinking (VSED), and palliative sedation. Additionally, if the physician isn’t comfortable with the choice that the patient makes, they must refer them to another physician who can provide care.

Benefits of the Act

The act requires physicians to practice full disclosure of all end-of-life treatments available. This empowers the patient and their caregivers to make their own treatment decisions. The act:

  • Encourages open patient/physician communications about treatment options, providing the opportunity to discuss goals of care
  • Empowers the patient to make informed health care decisions
  • May facilitate earlier admission to palliative care and hospice, improving pain and quality of life and increase its use
  • Prevents withholding of information regarding end-of-life care by physicians.

The Right to Know and the Right to Say No

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.