The most important thing about accessing medical aid-in-dying is to begin to research it as early as possible. Knowing what all the pieces are will help you make sure that your resources are appropriate, available and in place when you need them. Not being prepared ahead of time has caused some people to lose their opportunity to take advantage of the law.
Things You Should Know About the Law
You must be a Colorado resident. You are considered a resident if you have any of the following:
- Colorado driver’s license or identification card
- Colorado voter registration card or proof they are registered to vote in Colorado
- Evidence that they own or lease property in Colorado
- Colorado income tax return for the most recent year
There are parameters around who can witness the formal written request. Make sure to be aware of those when you are asking people to witness.
Ingestion of the medication may be done orally or through a tube, depending on the person’s condition and abilities. However, the requirement that the patient self-ingest is hard and fast. Discussions with the physician should thoroughly cover this so it is clear what people who are helping legally can and can’t do.
At any time, a person can rescind their request for medication or decide to stop the process.
A significant number of people around the country who obtain the medication choose not to use it, but it provides them the ‘psychological insurance’ that they have within their own power the timing of their death.
Although the ultimate decision and process to use MAiD is in the hands of the dying person, there are critical considerations about who else will be involved. We strongly encourage people to engage hospice services. Being thoughtful about where the person will be physically is important as some facilities may not allow people to ingest MAID medications on their premises. Family and friends, having never before helped someone they love die, may need more support than they think they will.
We help people think through some of the parts of using MAiD that could be complicated as well as providing them with referrals and directions that can help positively shape this final life experience.