Working to increase awareness of Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking (VSED)


Clinical Guidelines now available

Published VSED Guidelines in the JPSM

On June 21, 2023, the first published comprehensive clinical guidelines for Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking (VSED) in the United States appeared in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management (JPSM). To read and/or download the guidelines, follow the link above or click on the JPSM article thumbnail.

Important Message from VSED Resources NW

VSED is legally available in every US state. However, stopping eating and drinking requires careful planning and robust medical support. VSED must be done with caregiver support and should never be undertaken alone without proper consideration, planning, and assistance.

If you would like to contact us for specific information:

  • Read through the documents on this website first
  • Understand that consultations by our volunteers are available by phone, email, and Zoom
  • Accept that we do our best to respond within 24 hours during business hours (Pacific Standard Time)

If you are currently in crisis, please call or text the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 and a trained crisis worker will answer. Since July 2022, the 988 Lifeline has provided 24/7, confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress, their family, and friends. Languages supported: English and Spanish.

Who We Are

We are a group of activists in Western Washington who seek to increase community awareness of Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking (VSED, pronounced vee-sed) as an end-of-life choice, and to further its availability and access. We educate our community about choices at the end of life, advocate for VSED, and make referrals to caregivers, death doulas, and physicians who are experienced with VSED here in the Pacific Northwest.

We created this website to more easily share VSED resources with those interested in exploring this longstanding end-of-life choice. Visit our Who We Are page to learn more about how we came to this important, life-affirming work.

VSED Consultations
If you are interested in scheduling a consultation with us to learn more about your VSED options, please visit our Contact Us page and get in touch.

Diversity and Inclusion Statement
At VSED Resources Northwest, we are painfully aware of the disparity in medical care and access to end-of-life care for Black, Brown, and Indigenous people, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, people living with disabilities, those living with mental health issues, people living in poverty, and other underrepresented groups. We are open to talk with and provide care to anyone in need. We believe we must take action daily to create a more just and equal society. Birth and death are universals, as is the need for compassionate care when negotiating both thresholds.

What We Do

We Educate

…about end-of-life choices, particularly VSED, through individual conversations, family circles, group presentations, and webinars.

We Counsel

…how to talk to healthcare providers, family members, and friends about end-of-life choices.

We Connect

…individuals with local Hospice Care, death doulas, supportive physicians, and caregivers who are experienced in helping people use VSED.

We Assist

…by providing useful documents about VSED to share with doctors and family members, as well as a “lending library” of equipment and supplies for VSED.

We Provide Care

…by offering a VSED grief support group for family members of those who choose VSED.

We Consult

…with local and national groups to increase awareness of VSED. 

VSED Stories

“VSED might not be the right choice for everyone, but it is the right choice for me.” - Jane V.

In October 2016, Jane and her husband Dick attended a seminar on VSED sponsored by the Palliative Care Institute. After listening to Phyllis Shacter describe her husband Alan’s decision to die with dignity by VSED, Jane decided that she would utilize VSED when the time was right. In February 2020, with her dementia steadily advancing, Jane and Dick decided that time had come.

“We talked about his readiness to die. He was clear that he didn’t want further treatment.” - Dwight, Craig's son

Years before, Craig had written that he would be done when he was “confined,” no longer able to move on his own, no longer interested in reading 3 newspapers a day, no longer delighted by food, and not really interested in his usual martini. However, his family still had to fight for his right to die with dignity in spite of his steadfast directive.


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