End-of-Life Care

Answers to Your Frequently Asked Questions

PeaceHealth is committed to supporting patients at the end of life by providing and supporting patient self-determination through the use of advance directives, offering hospice, mental health support and other supportive care to patients and families, and offering effective pain and symptom management as well as other social, spiritual and pastoral support and services.  

Q: Does PeaceHealth honor Living Will instructions, even if they conflict with Catholic teachings?  

Advance directives (“Living Wills”) are typically consistent with Catholic teachings, and PeaceHealth encourages their use. PeaceHealth will honor an advance directive that is drafted by a competent patient and executed by an appointed durable power of attorney, as required by law.  

Q: Can a terminally ill patient choose to discontinue the use of feeding tubes?  

Yes, under appropriate circumstances. PeaceHealth holds that death should not be directly hastened or postponed; at the same time PeaceHealth regards patients as central to the decision-making process, assuring them that they will receive all appropriate palliative care and be able to refuse unwanted, burdensome treatment. PeaceHealth honors requests for withdrawal of therapies that from a patient’s perspective are more burden than benefit, including hydration and nutrition.  

Q: Are terminally ill patients allowed to exercise their legal choices, including consultation and/or referral to physician-assisted suicide?  

PeaceHealth patients are free to pursue therapies such as physician-assisted suicide, but PeaceHealth will not participate in the practice. PeaceHealth will not abandon patients, including those who may choose to consider physician-assisted suicide (see answer above). PeaceHealth will not interfere with a patient’s choice to exercise this legal right. As allowed by law, PeaceHealth chooses not to participate in physician-assisted suicide itself. ​