Week Fourteen 4/19/15 to 4/25/15 Strategies for Increasing Consumer Participation in the Policy Process.


Policy Process

Hello! Welcome back to this week’s discussion on the policy process and how to increase consumer participation. All the way back in Week Four we discussed how policies ensured that people’s basic needs and rights are being met (e.g., health, education, and safety).

People reading this blog may sit back and wonder how death with dignity fits into this explanation? In the past 14 weeks this discussion on Death with Dignity was meant to not only provide information, but to (possibly) get interested parties involved in supporting a bill in Arizona.


Consumer Participation

Policy making should involve consumers, but why? The obvious answer is that consumers should be considered major stakeholders; and have input on expectations, needs, and preferences (Pask, 2011). The World Health Organization (WHO) mentions how consumers play a central role for healthcare quality and safety (2015). For change to occur in healthcare, it takes vast community education, consumer advocacy, and constructive debates (Palmer and Short, 2000).

In Arizona, there is nothing on the horizon for a Death with Dignity bill. With the help from advocacy groups like Compassion & Choices or Death with Dignity National Center the message will continue to spread across the United States.

For those interested parties there is a petition (found on http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/arizona-death-with-dignity) for Arizonans to sign who support a death in dignity. The goal is 200 signatures to be delivered to the Arizona State House, the Arizona State Senate, and Governor Doug Ducey (MoveOn.org, 2015). There is also a local chapter of Compassion & Choices in Arizona; and a meeting is scheduled on March 28, 2015 in Tucson with guest speaker, State Senator Steve Farley (D), to discuss the introduction of a new aid in dying bill (Compassion & Choices Arizona, 2015).

Final Thoughts…A Wrap-Up

Since this is the last week of the dignity discussion, I wanted to end with an news story  I read in the Denver Post. It was a discussion about the Death with Dignity movement in Colorado (CO); and an interesting statistic about how 80% of people agreed with an aid in dying, but when asked if it should be enacted into a law that number dropped to 45% (Denver Post, 2015). It appears strange that in conversation people say they agree terminally- ill people should have the right to choose how they die, but won’t support a bill. Is is because this subject matter is an ethical dilemma for most?

I want to hear from the you…the consumer.

Thank you for all your comments; and remember you have a voice!


Compassion & Choices Arizona (2015). About us. Retrieved from http://www.choicesarizona.org/

Denver Post (2015). Lamm: Death with dignity: A new civil rights movement. Retrieved from http://www.denverpost.com/ci_22742840/death-dignity-new-civil-rights-movement?source=infinite

MoveOn.Org (2015). Arizona death with dignity act. Retrieved from http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/arizona-death-with-dignity

Palmer, G.R. & Short, S.D. (2000). Health care and public policy: An Australian analysis. South Yarra, AU: Macmillian Publishers Australia.

Pask, Robert (2011). Getting the whole picture-consumer participation in health policy. Journal of the Health Forum in Australia, 9(1), 1-2.

World Health Organization (2015). Patients have a voice to! Retrieved from http://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/5may2013_patient-participation/en/


5 thoughts on “Week Fourteen 4/19/15 to 4/25/15 Strategies for Increasing Consumer Participation in the Policy Process.

  1. SHEllis

    It is so surprising how individuals’ opinions may waver when it comes time to make a tangible change. I noticed this with a much simpler issue during my DNP project. I implemented screening for autism at a primary care site. During informal conversations, all providers indicated that more should be done to expedite the diagnosis of children with developmental disabilities, but when I presented the change in practice, there was general resistance.

    In considering your topic, my opinion is that people fear the religious and/or ethical implications. Issues such as women’s reproductive rights have also had slow adoption rates. Both the pro-choice and death with dignity movements have been characterized as, “incompatible with the physician’s role as a healer” (Campbell, 2015). With aid in dying laws, there is also a fear that access to such medications would result in foul play (Campbell, 2015). I think one of the most important things supporters can do is provide education and share examples of Oregon’s safety profile. Additionally, as indicated by the Connecticut campaign manager for Compassion & Choices, we can reframe the debate to focus on the importance of respecting choices (Campbell, 2015).


    Campbell, S. (2015, January 6). Aid-in-dying law supporters refuse to give up. Connecticut Health-I-Team. Retrieved from http://c-hit.org/2015/01/06/aid-in-dying-law-supporters-refuse-to-give-up/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. dignitydiscussion Post author

      I think that foul play can occur with or without death with dignity laws in place. When someone wants to do something they will find a way. I think with the implementation of safe, mandated guidelines (for any new health bill) it is a way to keep things checked and balanced. Oregon is definitely a leader to follow in this arena. They have been successful in the implementation and sustainability of this law. Good luck in all you do and thank you for your posts to my blog.


  2. jennweitman

    I agree with you the consumers have the potential to be major stakeholders in the policy process. When I started this class, I felt like consumers were a weak force in policy making. I thought that consumers are simply unorganized individuals with an opinion that no one really cares about. I knew about special interest groups and influential individuals with money, and I felt like their influence over- shadowed the everyday consumer. I now know this is not entirely true. The government wants to hear from ordinary Americans. They value our opinion and often read comments made by consumers! This is encouraging to me. This class has taught me policy vocabulary and the basic inner workings of how an idea turns into a bill which turns into a law. As an ordinary consumer, I now feel confident to voice my opinion and ideas surrounding health policy. In particular, I would be in favor of a bill in the State of Arizona supporting death with dignity. And I will definitely exercise my consumer right and sign the petition!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. clarinet20

    I am impressed that you incorporated a poll into your blog! Leslie, you are amazing! I couldn’t even quite figure out how to put a video on my blog 😉
    Anyway, I agree that more people need to speak up and be willing to sign petitions. It reminded me of how every time I go to the public library, there is someone there with a petition of some sort and they always ask me to sign. I am usually too busy, hauling kids, and don’t take the time. Yet, I should have stopped! I am passionate about policies, as I understand they affect each and every one of us. Furthermore, who knows but that they were signing a petition about something that I am deeply interested in, yet I didn’t take the time. And that is exactly what consumers need to do! They need to take the time to get informed, take action, and be a voice. Otherwise, one day we will all wake up and wonder why the minority has made all the decisions and our society is in the state it is in. We need to take charge now in order to ensure a bright future for our kids. And we can help to encourage and support others to do the same. Do you foresee the same problem if we do not stand up and support the causes that mean so very much to us?



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