Tools to Finish Strong

Compassion & Choices is proud to offer a host of tools and resources to help you and your loved ones “finish strong” by planning for an end-of-life experience that matches the life you’ve enjoyed – defined by love, purpose and agency. Finish Strong tools include online and print resources specifically designed to address planning your end-of-life care at every state, even after a dementia diagnosis.

Print and Online Resources

The End-of-Life Decisions Guide and Toolkit

The End-of-Life Decisions Guide and Toolkit

Compassion & Choices’ My End-of-Life Decisions: An Advance Planning Guide and Toolkit will help you work through your end-of-life priorities and empower you to have valuable discussions with your healthcare providers. It includes tear-out sheets for advance care planning. The 40-page toolkit is available for download or a free hard copy can be ordered. Some of the unique and important features of this toolkit are:

  • The Values Worksheet includes a series of questions that help you think through your priorities for care at life’s end.
  • An Assisted-Living Facility Rider helps ensure that an assisted-living facility will respect a resident’s wishes for end-of-life care.
  • Hospital Visitation Form helps ensure that people you most want to be with you are admitted on a priority basis, whether or not they are family members.
  • Sectarian Healthcare Directive helps ensure that a patient’s instructions will be respected in a situation where institutional policy conflicts with those instructions and that, depending on state law, the provider will assist with the transfer.
  • My Particular Wishes is meant to inform physicians, nurses or other care providers of your consent to or refusal of certain specific therapies. It also guides a family member or any other person you name in making decisions for you, if you cannot articulate these decisions yourself.

Dementia Values & Priorities Tool

This interactive tool will document your wishes regarding the care you want and create an addendum that can be added to your existing Advance Directive.

LGBTQ+ Advance Care Planning Tookit

lgbtq advance care planning toolkit

Compassion & Choices is proud to partner with SAGE to create a comprehensive end of life planning guide for LGBTQ+ people, by LGBTQ+ people. This tool walks through decisions around health care proxies, hospice care, how we honor life, and so much more. An excellent resource for individuals, chosen family members, and professionals working in deathcare

Finish Strong | The Book

Finish Strong: Putting Your Priorities First at Life’s End, by President Emerita / Senior Adviser of Compassion & Choices, Barbara Coombs Lee, is the guide to achieving the positive end-of-life experience you want and deserve. Finish Strong is for those who know they should prepare for the end of life, but are unsure how to think and talk about it. The book aims to help you live true to your values and priorities as vigor wanes, and how to make sure your wishes are honored. This book describes concrete action to take in the here and now, to help live your best life to the end.

Clinician Conversation Toolkit

Studies show the single most powerful thing a person can do to improve the chance for gentle dying, is simply an courageously, talk about it with your clinicians. Our toolkit provides you with a step-by-step guide to finding clinicians who will support you in advance and during a serious diagnosis. This includes:

  • Our simple Finding a Partner Doctor postcard, which provides you with a list of the questions to ask to ensure you and your provider are on the same page.
  • Information about our Doc to Doc Consultation Program, a resource you can provide to your clinicians if they have questions about how to legally support your end-of-life wishes including information on medical aid in dying, voluntarily stopping eating and drinking, palliative sedation, and more.
  • Links to our powerful diagnosis decoder, an easy-to-use online tool that helps you find the right questions to ask to get the care you want. This includes a version for a person with any illness, as well as a customized version for those facing cancer or dementia.
Diagnosis Decoder tool on a iMac monitor

Advanced Directive Forms

Find your state's advance directive at CaringInfo

Medical Aid in Dying Information Packets in Authorized States

State-specific booklets that provide step-by-step instructions for how to use the law, how to find a physician and what to consider when talking with your physician. Also see the Medical Aid in Dying tracking sheet

Stories

rabbi sara rensin

Rabbi Sarah Rensin

Rabbi Sarah Rensin, hospice chaplain, has helped dying people access medical aid in dying and have the spiritual ending they wanted.
“There’s a lot of comfort in just knowing there’s a spiritual person who supports your decision. That support, no matter what that person’s faith, or lack of faith, looks like is really important to people.”

Anita Rufus

Anita’s husband, John, was able to have the peaceful death he wanted thanks to planning ahead for his end-of-life healthcare.
“I’ll miss John every day for the rest of my life. I will never be sorry for honoring his wishes.”
Anita Rufus standing in front of a scenic mountain view
david bierman

David Bierman

David Bierman’s wife, Katherine Bierman, struggled during her last months of life as she succumbed to COPD.
“Watching Kathy suffer was difficult, but the anguish she endured was exponentially worse.”

Lee Corrina Cano

Despite dying two decades apart, Lee Corrina Cano’s father and father-in-law both suffered unnecessarily in their last days.
“Watching someone you love go through a difficult and prolonged death changes you. It makes you realize that this issue of agency at the end of life is not a technical or legal issue to be debated stoically.”
lee corrina cano
Jim Kelly and His Husband Bruce

Jim Kelly

Since his cancer diagnosis, Jim Kelly has completed his advance directive and become an advocate for medical aid in dying in Illinois.
“End-of-life processes can look very different, but we all deserve autonomy to determine what kind of care we do and don’t want, and when enough is enough.”

Meghan Reese

Meghan Reese’s mother planned to use Colorado’s medical aid-in-dying law, but her choice was robbed from her through a prohibitive system.
“The stress this law, in its current form, put on my mom and my family is indescribable. Her death was the opposite of peaceful. Improvements to Colorado’s End-of-Life Options Act are necessary.”
Meghan Reese and her mom, Kathleen McDaniel
ron tanner family photo

Ellen Tanner, Mary Tanner and Ashley Baugh

Ron Tanner moved from Illinois to Colorado to access the state’s medical aid-in-dying law and end his suffering from corticobasal syndrome.
“Terminally ill Illinoisans shouldn’t have to leave their home to die peacefully.”

Victoria Beelik

Victoria Beelik reflects on her experiences taking care of her parents at the end of their lives and the contrast in their last day.
“My dad was able to pass gently and with peace, but 10 months later, my mom passed away with great suffering and fear. I can never unsee what happened with my mom.”
victoria beelik
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