The goal of good end-of-life care is to prevent as much physical and emotional suffering as possible. Not aimed at curing illness, the focus is on comfort, dignity and quality of life. For many, it is reassuring just to know that options exist. There is no one right answer or choice; preferences vary from person to person. Candid conversation is crucial to ensuring we get the care we want at the end of life, so it’s important to discuss priorities with loved ones, healthcare providers and others close to us. Our End-of-Life Information Center offers additional resources on various options and how to talk about them.

End-of-Life Options

Your Life, Your Priorities Be in charge of your own healthcare at every stage of life.

End-of-Life Options: Care and Choice at the End of Life Learn what end-of-life options are available.

How to Talk to Your Doctor About Your End-of-Life Options Recognizes the importance of your medical providers understanding your priorities and values, and being willing to provide the level of care you desire. By explaining your preferences early, you are more likely to have an end-of-life experience consistent with your values.

DNR and POLST Find medical forms containing detailed guidance about an individual’s wishes for end-of-life medical care.

Hospice Hospice and palliative care focus on quality of life rather than length of life, with the goal of comfort.

Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking (VSED) Voluntarily stopping eating and drinking, also known as VSED, involves declining food, liquids and artificial feeding in order to shorten the dying process.

Medical Aid in Dying This practice, currently authorized in eleven jurisdictions, allows terminally ill adults to receive a prescription for medication that will bring about a peaceful death.

Palliative Sedation This is an option involving being medicated to reduce consciousness for relief of extreme pain and suffering.

Visit the EOLC Planning Toolkit Here you’ll find ideas, inspiration and information on thorough, effective end-of-life preparation.

End of Life: Commonly Used Terms Read useful terms and vocabulary for discussing end-of-life options.

End-of-Life Information Packet