Tree and misty lake in autumn

Palliative & End-of-Life Care


Communication about goals and values is essential to ensure that individuals receive the care they want, to minimize stress and anxiety, and to support a patient and their family—not only at the end-of-life but throughout a serious illness or progressive disease.

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Goals of Care

Goals of care are determined by an individual’s preferences and priorities, their hopes and fears for the future. Goals can be described in simple language without any mention of specific procedures or medical interventions.

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Medical Aid in Dying (Act 39)

In May of 2013, Vermont became the fourth state to legalize Medical Aid in Dying. Vermont’s law (Act 39) permits a terminally ill, capable adult to request and obtain a lethal prescription of medication to self-administer for the purpose of hastening their own death.

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Palliative Care and Hospice

Palliative care is specialized care for people living with serious illness. Hospice care is a type of palliative care available to people who have less than six months to live and are no longer seeking curative treatment.

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Pediatric Considerations

Pediatric palliative care benefits children with chronic disease whose symptoms impact their quality of life, as well as families who are facing difficult decisions for a seriously ill child regarding treatments that have both benefits and burdens.

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Policy and Legislative Reports

Vermont lawmakers have long supported efforts to improve access to quality care for people living with serious illness. In 2009, they established the Bill of Rights for Palliative Care and Pain Management and created a statewide Task Force to coordinate palliative care and pain management initiatives in Vermont.

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