What They’re Watching: Samantha Trad, Compassion and Choices

Samantha Trad, national director of care advocacy at Compassion and Choices, praises the 2021 amendments to the End of Life Option Act that took effect in January. Originally passed in 2015, the bill authorizes an individual who is “imminently dying” to receive a prescription that will ease their suffering and allow them to reach the end of their life peacefully.

Trad’s organization worked to amend the legislation last year, and health care systems and hospices are now required to publicly post their policies on their website to make them more accessible for patients. Prior to the amendments, the bill posed accessibility challenges to many patients by requiring a 13-step process to access the End of Life Option Act’s provisions. Trad says the only people who were able to access it tended to be those with a lot of privilege.

“We’re looking at underserved communities, making sure that people know what their options are, and are able to talk about it, because every culture is different and in some cultures it’s so difficult to talk about end-of-life. So then, when your loved one is terminally ill or they are no longer able to talk or describe what they want at the end of life, it can cause so much stress and a lot of problems.”