Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2018


As the elderly constitute a greater proportion of the population, end-of- life issues have taken on a greater sense of urgency. This paper will address the heart of the debate, which is a terminally ill patient's right to dignity and self-determination. To further explore this social issue, a literature review will be conducted using a variety of relevant literature including, peer reviewed journals, and accredited online resources to assemble evidence of researchers. In some states, the discussion on this social issue has resulted in the enactment of policy. One of the first groundbreaking public laws was the Oregon Death with Dignity Act (1997). This law provides guidelines to the doctors, social workers and other professionals who work closely with those facing end-of- life decisions. A policy framework model was applied to Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act to gain further insights and make further recommendations. With these insights and recommendations, the practitioner will be better equipped to engage with clients who are facing end-of-life issues. Social work is an advocacy-based profession that strives to serve their clients in their quest for self-determination. End-of-life issues have been an evolving topic for the last hundred years, which only continue to become more central as discussions about the aging community sharpen.


Faculty Sponsor: Kristin C. Bailey-Wallace



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