The essence of who we are boils down to helping our hospice clients educate their communities on how to have the best possible end-of-life experience. “The Dying Patient’s Bill of Rights” listed below, originally published in American Journal of Nursing, has always struck a chord with us. It summarizes the dignity, compassion and expertise each person deserves during their final chapter. And it beautifully outlines the very attributes our hospice friends and clients deliver so well. Our goal is to help you tell as many people as possible that these are their rights during end of life, and what you help them experience.
I have the right to be treated as a living human being until I die.
I have the right to maintain a sense of hopefulness, however changing its focus may be.
I have the right to be cared for by those who can maintain a sense of hopefulness, however changing this might be.
I have the right to express my feelings and emotions about my approaching death in my own way.
I have the right to participate in decisions concerning my care.
I have the right to expect continuing medical and nursing attention even though “cure” goals must be changed to “comfort” goals.
I have the right not to die alone.
I have the right to be free from pain.
I have the right to have my questions answered honestly.
I have the right not to be deceived.
I have the right to have help from and for my family in accepting my death.
I have the right to die in peace and dignity.
I have the right to retain my individuality and not be judged for my decisions which may be contrary to beliefs of others.
I have the right to discuss and enlarge my religious and/or spiritual experiences, whatever these may mean to others.
I have the right to expect that the sanctity of the human body will be respected after death.
I have the right to be cared for by caring, sensitive, knowledgeable people who will attempt to understand my needs and will be able to gain some satisfaction in helping me face my death.
©Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins
"Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something."
– Henry David Thoreau