On September 19, 2019, Maine became the tenth jurisdiction in the U.S. to allow terminally ill, capable adults the option to qualify for a lethal prescription they can self-ingest for the purpose of hastening their own death in a peaceful and dignified manner at a time of their choosing.
Mainers approaching the end of life deserve medical care that maximizes their comfort, respects their values, and addresses their fears and concerns while continually seeking to optimize meaningful quality of life. Goals, preferences, and priorities surrounding care at the end of life are unique and vary from patient to patient. When faced with life-threatening illness, some patients want aggressive life-prolonging interventions to the very end. Many want comfort measures only. Still others, seeking to control the time and manner of death, find reassurance in having a lethal prescription available to them, even if they choose not to use it.
Death with dignity is compatible with hospice and palliative care.
Personal goals and priorities makes it essential that throughout the course of illness, a patient receive responsive care based on shared understandings, fully informed choices, and repeated assessment of changing needs and concerns. Excellent palliative and hospice care remain the standard of care for patients approaching the end of life.
Maine’s Death with Dignity Act is fully compatible with hospice and palliative care. It is one component of a continuum of care. A vast majority of patients (about 90%) who choose death with dignity are also enrolled in and receiving hospice care at the time of their death.
A primary program of Maine Death with Dignity is connecting people to the information they need to learn more about aid-in-dying and to support patients and providers through the entire process as needed.
Consistent with our mission to promote understanding of death with dignity, we encourage Maine’s citizens, health care providers, and facilities to thoroughly inform themselves about the law through fact-based education. Contact us to arrange a community discussion or training for your staff.
Maine Death with Dignity’s overall mission as a 501(c)(3) non-profit is providing services, education, and end-of-life advocacy to people who wish to actively explore the meaning of life through embracing the certainty of death.