Understanding the End-of-Life Options Act for Estes Park Health

The Colorado End-of-Life Options Act was approved by Colorado voters in 2016. The Act:

  • Allows an eligible terminally ill individual, with a prognosis of six months or less to live, to request and self-administer aid-in-dying medication in order to voluntarily end his or her life;
  • Authorizes a physician to prescribe aid-in-dying medication to a terminally ill individual under certain conditions; and
  • Creates criminal penalties for tampering with a person’s request for aid-in-dying medication or knowingly coercing a person with a terminal illness to request the medication.

The discussion surrounding the Colorado End-of-Life Options Act (“the Act”) can be a highly emotional issue for patients, healthcare providers, and hospitals. Estes Park Health Administration, along with the Board of Directors, is proposing a Colorado End-of-Life Options Act Policy for Estes Park Health. The purpose of the policy is to describe the position of Estes Park Health regarding the Act. The policy outlines participation of physicians employed or under contract, provides guidelines for responding to patient requests for information about aid-in-dying medications in accordance with Federal and State laws, regulations, and accreditation standards and addresses Estes Park Health’s position about where a patient can self-administer aid-in-dying medication. Click here to read the full Estes Park Health policy Colorado End of Life Options Act 1-9-2019  If you have questions after reviewing the policy, please send them to info@eph.org.

The organization Compassion & Choices is the expert on the end-of-life journey and the Act. Sam DeWitt is the Colorado Access Campaign Manager for Compassion & Choices. DeWitt has participated in several meetings hosted by Estes Park Health to answer questions and help the community understand the Act and how it could impact personal end-of-life decisions.

“We at Compassion & Choices are so pleased that Estes Park Health is taking this important step toward person-centered care,” shares DeWitt. “Putting this policy in place will ensure patients have a say in their end-of-life journey. Studies have shown that having an end-of-life plan can improve quality of life for both patients and families. That said, it is imperative that members of the Estes Park community speak with their physicians and medical team before they receive a terminal prognosis to be sure their choices will be honored and supported. Compassion & Choices offers resources on how to speak to your physician and how to interview a hospice about end-of-life care options.

Estes Park Health’s mission is to make a positive difference in the health and well-being of all we serve. Estes Park Health has a unique opportunity to provide a continuum of care from the start of life to the end of life. Estes Park Health is proud of the services provided to the community at the end of life.

  • Our Home Health team offers medical and non-medical services in the home to provide assistance that allows patients to stay in their home with help, if that is their choice. To arrange care, call 970-586-2273.
  • Our Hospice Care provides physical, emotional, social, and spiritual care before, during, and after death. Hospice Care enables patients to have control over how they can live their days with comfort and dignity, surrounded by those they love. Hospice Care provides effective symptom management and palliative care to allow patients and their family to focus on quality of life. To arrange Hospice Care, call 970-586-2273.
  • Our Living Center provides short-term and long-term care when a patient needs more support than is available in the home. The Living Center is a home-like, 24-hour, skilled nursing facility that is connected to Estes Park Health. To arrange a tour call 970-586-8103.

The choice to participate in the Act will ultimately be a decision between the patient and their physician. The time to discuss end-of-life options, and the time to choose a provider who will honor your choice, is while you’re still healthy and able to make your own decisions.