Bioethics Blogs

End of Life Option Act Response Conference

Tomorrow, I am at the California End of Life Option Act Response Conference.

Purpose:  To enable deliberation and ethical reflection about policies and practices that balance the autonomy interests of patients who desire assistance from their clinicians to use California’s End of Life Option Act with the need to provide safeguards, especially for vulnerable populations.  

Description:  We will bring together 100 representatives of clinical ethics committees and palliative care programs from throughout the state, as well as leaders from organizations of providers that will be directly involved in the law’s implementation, including primary care, hospice, pharmacy and long-term care providers, among others. 

Content:  Many pragmatic and ethical concerns will need immediate attention, including: 

  • How will practicing clinicians, and importantly trainees, be educated to respond to requests for physician aid-in-dying, and to connect patients to resources, such as hospice and mental health, in the course of discussing these requests? 

  • How will required legal safeguards, such as establishing prognosis and second opinions, be implemented? 

  • How will California’s unique “final attestation” process be implemented? 

  • How will decision-making capacity be assessed? 

  • How will pharmacy policies be implemented, including the management of aid-in-dying 
medications in health care facilities? 

  • How will health care organizations that elect not to participate respond? 

  • How will health care organizations assess and manage conscientious objections by clinicians 
or other staff? 

  • How with health care systems share best practices as issues arise, and collaborate on research 
and quality improvement efforts? 

  • How will health care organizations plan for the needs and concerns of diverse populations?

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.