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Do terminally ill New Yorkers have the right to receive information about their end-of-life options?

Yes, the Palliative Care Information Act became effective in 2011. End of Life Choices New York played an instrumental part in getting this law enacted.

Per the Palliative Care Information Act, if a patient is diagnosed with a terminal illness or condition (a life expectancy of 6 months or fewer if the disease runs its typical course), the patient’s attending medical practitioner must offer to provide the patient with information and counseling regarding palliative care and end of life options appropriate to the patient, and information regarding other appropriate treatment options should the patient wish to initiate or continue treatment. 

Information and counseling offered must include (but not be limited to): range of appropriate options, prognosis, risks and benefits of different options, patient’s legal rights to pain and symptom management. This information may be given to the patient (or their health care agent/surrogate if they lack capacity) in writing and/or verbally.

Note that this law requires that this information must be offered. It is up to the patient (or their health care agent/surrogate) whether they would like to receive this information, and they may refuse.

For more information about the Palliative Care Information Act, please visit https://endoflifechoicesny.org/advocacy/legislation/pcia/

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