First palliative care law introduced to New York

New York has passed a new bill which outlines in simple terms the specific standards for doctors and nurse practitioners caring for terminally ill patients.

The Palliative Care Information Act (PCIA) states that when a disease has advanced to the terminal stage and a patient is unlikely to survive six months, doctors must offer to inform them of this, and advise them of available treatments aiming to bring comfort, not vanquish disease.

The bill was developed by Compassion & Choices, a national non-profit organization dedicated to expanding and protecting the rights of the terminally ill, in concert with its New York’s affiliate. Before it became New York law, patients receiving end of life care had no such rights.

California passed a similar law in 2009, and it is under consideration in other states. The new standards seek to reduce the cost of care at the end of life, as well as the suffering often associated with it.

In a recent blog post, President of Compassion & Choices and US activist, Barbara Coombs Lee comments on the PCIA and what it means for patient care and decision-making. Read the full commentary here.

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