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Implementing Aid in Dying in California: Experiences from Other States Indicates the Need for Strong Implementation Guidance

May 19, 2016

Policy Brief

Author: Cindy L. Cain, PhD

​In late 2015, California passed the End of Life Option Act (AB 15), which allows residents at the terminal stage of an illness to request a prescription for medications meant to hasten death. As California seeks to implement the law in June 2016, findings from other states that practice aid in dying (AID) may guide implementation.

This policy brief provides an overview of the use of AID, outlines outstanding questions about practice and ethics, and recommends steps for improving California’s implementation of AB 15. Specifically, the implementation of AB 15 would be improved by adjusting surveillance data-collection requirements and encouraging additional research investment, using the legalization of AID to improve knowledge of and practices for end-of-life care generally, and creating ongoing educational opportunities for providers and the general public.

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