(California’s End of Life Option Act)
The following is the policy of this organization regarding End of Life Option Act
This Hospice reaffirms a basic element of the hospice philosophy that states that because dying is a natural process, hospice neither seeks to hasten nor postpone death. Hospice also reaffirms the philosophy that hospice does not abandon dying patients and their families. Hospice acknowledges that there may be hospice patients who will wish to avail themselves of provisions of California’s End of Life Option Act (“Act”), which permits an adult with a terminal disease and the mental capacity to make health care decisions to request and be prescribed an aid-in-dying drug if specific conditions are met (California Health and Safety Code Sections 443 et seq.). However, Hospice recognizes that this is a matter between the patient and his or her physician; consequently, Hospice will not actively participate in performing the processes authorized by the Act, but will only provide requesting patients with a referral to organizations who provide or facilitate the processes authorized by the Act.
This Hospice elects not to participate in the Act.
Patients who inquire about the option provided in the Act, will be provided a referral to organization(s) (e.g. Compassionate Choices), specializing and/or facilitating the processes authorized by the Act (“Organization(s)”). This Hospice elects not to participate in the Act. However, this Hospice will continue to provide standard hospice services to patients regardless of their stated interest or intent in pursuing the options authorized by the Act.
Other than providing contact information (e.g. website, name or phone number) to Organization(s) specializing and/or facilitating the processes authorized by the Act, neither Hospice staff nor Hospice patient care volunteers nor Hospice contracted associates will assist with or participate in the processes provided by the Act, while acting in the course and scope of any employment or through contract for or on behalf of this Hospice or while on the premises of Hospice or of its patients, Hospice will not provide, deliver, administer, or assist with medication as contemplated by the Act nor shall any Hospice staff or volunteers be present during the drug administration / utilization process.
Hospice employees, staff or contracted parties who violate this policy may be subject to discipline, including but not limited to loss of privileges, suspension, termination of contract, loss of employment, and imposition of any other remedies provided by contract, policy, regulation or law.
Staff and volunteers who are morally or ethically opposed to patient’s wishes under the Act will have the option of transferring care responsibilities to other staff, if their patient states an intent to pursue the course authorized by the Act. Staff/volunteers may be required to sign a form confirming their objection/opposition to patient’s wishes.
If patient makes an inquiry about options provided by the Act, Hospice will note such request and will respond to inquiries or requests for information by referring patient to Organization(s). Hospice will not act as an agent in initiating or facilitating the processes provided for in the Act.
Staff or volunteers who are aware that a patient is considering utilizing the Act will immediately notify the Administrator and/or Director of Patient Care Services, Regional Director of Operations or CEO.
Hospice will also promptly convene an internal team conference, to include all of the available staff and volunteers working with the patient/family as well as members of the interdisciplinary group and the attending physician. The purpose of this meeting will be to examine the patient’s reasons for considering utilization of the Act and to discuss pain management or any other issues to assure optimal provision of hospice services.
The patient/family will be reminded and informed that Hospice only provides information to patient about Organization(s) specializing in implementation of the Act and that this Hospice does not participate in the Act. Hospice will document referral to Organization(s).
As is customary, hospice staff can be summoned to the home after the death of the patient and provide bereavement support which will be available to all families, but Hospice staff/contracted associates will not participate, assist or be present when patient decides to utilize medicines obtained pursuant to the Act, while acting in the course and scope of any employment or through contract for or on behalf of this Hospice or while on the premises of this Hospice or at location of its patients. The relationship between patient and patient’s selected physicians and/or consultants in charge of the process shall remain between them and Hospice shall not interfere nor assist with said relationship from inception to conclusion (e.g. Hospice will not be involved in arranging, following, assisting or verifying the various requirements the patient and patient’s selected physicians/consultants must meet, discuss, record, report and shall not be finalizing the patient’s death certificate, leaving said processes fully to the patient’s selected physicians/consultants involved in the processes required by the Act/law).
Hospice employees, staff or contracted parties who violate this policy may be subject to discipline, including but not limited to loss of privileges, suspension, termination of contract, loss of employment, and imposition of any other remedy provided by contract, policy, regulation or law.
If in the preceding year Hospice encountered cases involving requests made pursuant to the Act, Hospice will convene an Ethics Committee to review any such cases. The Ethics Committee may also meet at the request of staff to discuss concerns or issues that may arise in connection with the Act, to review any individual cases or to review the current policy and procedure.
This Hospice shall seek and hereby invokes and is subject to immunity to the fullest extent provided in the Act or other laws, rules and regulations.