Death with Dignity Act

Important note: The Department of Health is responsible for ensuring health care providers comply with the Death with Dignity Act and for reporting out summary information in annual reports. The Department of Health is not authorized or able to assist a potential participant with accessing care or removing the requirements of the Act. Talk with your health care provider or contact an end-of-life resource about pursuing Death with Dignity.

The Law

The Washington Death with Dignity Act, Initiative 1000, codified as Chapter 70.245 RCW, passed on November 4, 2008 and went into effect on March 5, 2009. This act allows terminally ill adults seeking to end their life to request lethal doses of medication from medical and osteopathic physicians. These terminally ill patients must be Washington residents who have less than six months to live.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Death with Dignity Act

Death with Dignity Act forms for patients and providers

2023 Changes and Implementation Timeline

The Washington Legislature passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5179 in 2023 that made changes to the Death with Dignity Act. The changes become effective on July 23, 2023.

  • TBD – training for providers
  • July 21, 2023 – Updated forms and webpages
  • July 23, 2023 – Changes to the Death with Dignity Act becomes effective
  • July 23, 2023 – The Department begins accepting forms electronically and by fax
  • August 1, 2023 – Rulemaking completed

We will update this webpage with more information.


What information is collected and reported?

Under the Death with Dignity Act, the Department of Health collects information from healthcare providers, reviews this information for compliance with reporting requirements, contacts the healthcare provider if the information is incomplete or inadequate, and produces an annual statistical report. The information collected from healthcare providers is not a public record and will only be released as summarized data in the annual statistical report.


Death with Dignity Act Annual Reports

End-of-Life Resources

You can find information about end-of-life care for patients and families on the Washington State Hospital Association and End of Life Washington websites.

You can find information about hospital’s end-of-life care services on the Hospital Policies  website.

Additional information regarding Physician's Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST), Advanced Directives, and other end-of-life resources is on the Washington State Medical Association's website.