Compassion & Choices is the nation’s oldest, largest and most active nonprofit working to improve care, expand options and empower everyone to chart their own end-of-life journey. Since 1980, we have united 450,000 supporters to share our mission to co-create

a society that affirms life and accepts the inevitability of death, 

embraces expanded options for compassionate dying,

and empowers everyone to choose end-of-life care

that reflects their values, priorities, and beliefs.

Together, we are working to transform the way we perceive and prepare for death, by:

Improving Care Through Policy and System Change 

To realize our vision of a society where all dying people have access to the full range of healthcare options, we are working to change the way our healthcare system delivers end-of-life care:     

  • Address Inequities in end-of-life care and planning for historically underserved communities.

  • Create a health system that honors and respects a patient’s right to document the care they want – and don’t want – to receive if they get dementia, and have those preferences honored by their providers.   

  • Transforming how end-of-life care is delivered in the Emergency Room through the National Emergency and Palliative Medicine Initiative, a cross-professional program to integrate palliative care into the ER.

Expanding End-of-Life Care Options

Compassion & Choices works to advance medical aid in dying, a medical practice that allows mentally capable, terminally ill adults the legal option to self-administer a prescribed medication to end their suffering, if they so choose. 

Medical aid in dying is a litmus test of our healthcare system’s willingness to provide patient-directed care. It is also one of few issues we can agree on: While fewer than 1% of terminally ill people choose to access the option wherever it is authorized, 70% of Americans think medical aid in dying should be legalized. Support cuts across race, gender, faith, age and party lines.

In 2018, we vowed that by 2028, half the U.S. population will live in a location where medical aid in dying is an open and accessible medical practice. 

* As of March, 2023, 11 jurisdictions have authorized medical aid in dying: California, Colorado, Hawai'i, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Washington state and Washington, DC.


Defending End-of-Life Care Options 

Research confirms that most Americans believe end-of-life healthcare should be determined by the patient or their healthcare proxy, not hospital policy. Unfortunately, the leaders of some well funded and powerful religious institutions believe their faith’s doctrine should govern everyone’s healthcare decisions. Their sights are set on rolling back 50+ years of progress advancing patient-directed care. Compassion & Choices is vigilant about protecting patients’ hard-won rights to: 

  • be fully informed about treatment options and services providers will and will not provide

  • have their request for care documented in their medical record and transferred to another provider, upon request  

  • express their end-of-life care wishes in an advance directive

  • allow for a natural death by forgoing curative treatments and/or life-support (e.g., chemotherapy, dialysis, feeding tube, etc.)

  • access medical aid in dying, once authorized.  

Against our influential and determined opponents, we are doing everything we can to protect laws and facilitate patients’ access to existing legal rights. 

Empowering Everyone to Finish Strong 

Compassion & Choices’ is committed to empowering everybody to chart their own end-of-life journey and providing information to help people Finish Strong. We provide resources and lead campaigns that inspire people to:  

  • know the value and engage in advance care planning with their loved ones and providers 

  • be empowered to navigate care options based on personal priorities and what matters most 

  • understand and access the full range of end-of-life care options.

We collaborate with communities, thought leaders and organizations to develop community-generated, culturally attuned outreach strategies and to disseminate tailored resources on advance care planning, consumer empowerment and end-of-life care options. 

Our aim is to mobilize healthcare consumers with the agency to become informed advocates for themselves and their loved ones. Our end goal is to create a movement of empowered consumers with better experiences at the end of life and to motivate change that improves care for all.