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Prop 106: Colorado authorizes end of life options measure

Medical aid in dying will soon be a compassionate end-of-life option for terminally ill Coloradans. The initiative – known as proposition 106 – was approved by approximately 65 percent of state voters.

Oregon was the first to pass a similar measure in 1997. In June, California’s “End of Life Option Act” went into effect. The issue has received more coverage since a 29-year-old with an inoperable brain tumor moved to Oregon to take advantage of the law. Colorado is the sixth state to authorize this type of law.

Strict requirements

The Colorado law is modeled on Oregon’s medical aid in dying law. Requirements include:

  • Age – an individual must be 18 or older
  • Terminal illness – the diagnosis needs to be confirmed by a second opinion
  • Mentally capability – as determined by a physician
  • Medication – once prescribed, a dose must be self-administered

While some who are dealing with a terminal illness may not choose to end their lives, it is important to write down end-of-life medical care directions.

One of these examples is a CPR directive. This tells healthcare workers that CPR should not be performed on you. A necklace or bracelet may notify emergency personnel. These directive forms can be obtained by a family physician or licensed health care facility.

A living will and medical durable power of attorney are two documents used to assign medical decision making authority to a trusted individual. These documents can avoid the need for a guardianship hearing and reduce family discord.

While you may have shared your end-of-life wishes with adult children, you need to take the next step by executing the proper documents. Comprehensive estate plans include more than a will. Durable powers of attorney and medical directive are important components that can ease a difficult time for loved ones.

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