S-4444.2  _______________________________________________





State of Washington      55th Legislature     1998 Regular Session


By Senators Wood, Thibaudeau, Deccio, Wojahn, Winsley and Kohl


Read first time 02/04/98.  Referred to Committee on Health & Long‑Term Care.

Creating a joint select committee on end-of-life issues.

    WHEREAS, Medical technology enables some patients to live longer, but is not always able to address pain, fear, unresolved personal issues, and psychosocial discomfort, resulting in growing concern among patients and their families, and in the medical, legal, and religious communities; and

    WHEREAS, There is a need for more compassionate and varied support for the dying, as well as improvement of medical education regarding death and dying, better patient understanding of advance directives and care options, more effective physician-patient communication and public understanding, and more appropriate referral to hospice care; and

    WHEREAS, Children with life-limiting conditions need special attention to provide them with palliative and terminal care that is medically and culturally appropriate, and that may help to allow the children to be cared for in their communities;

    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, By the Senate of the state of  Washington, the House of Representatives concurring, That a joint select committee on end-of-life issues be created.  The committee shall consist of:  Four members of the Senate appointed by the President of the Senate, two of whom shall be members of the majority party, and two of whom shall be members of the minority party; and four members of the House of Representatives, appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, two of whom shall be members of the majority party, and two of whom shall be members of the minority party; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the committee shall:

    (1) In consultation with appropriate groups such as the Washington State Medical Association's End-of-Life Coalition, hospice organizations, and the University of Washington School of Medicine and School of Nursing, and other appropriate state agencies, evaluate how to continue to improve education and training of physicians and other health care professionals in end-of-life care, including trends in medical school, nursing school, and continuing medical education curricula regarding palliative care, pain management, the role of hospice, and the psychosocial needs of terminal patients, including children;

    (2) Evaluate how to establish a program of public outreach education and information regarding end-of-life issues, as well as provision of objective public information regarding available state and community resources, including home health and hospice services and family support and counseling, and information on organ donation; and

    (3) Research the possibility of establishing a teaching and resource center in pediatric palliative care in order to improve the quality, coordination, and availability of such care throughout the state.  The concept of the pediatric palliative care center is to work with existing medical and nursing school programs to improve palliative care curricula to include culturally sensitive information on palliative and terminal care for children; assist health care professionals in coordination of such care; facilitate the transition of care from curative to palliative to terminal, spanning clinical and organizational relationships; improve clinical practice regarding pain and symptom management for children; provide an inpatient palliative care clinic setting for children; and act as a state-wide resource for physicians with questions regarding standards in pediatric palliative care; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the committee report to the legislature by December 1998 on the study and possible legislative action.


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