Selecting a language will automatically trigger the translation of the page content.

Advance Directives: last wills on end-of-life care

Verified 01 January 2022 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

Any adult person may, if he wishes, make a written statement advance directives to clarify his wishes regarding his end of life. This document will help doctors, when the time comes, make decisions about what care to give, if the person can no longer express their wishes.

Advance instructions allow you to make your wishes known about your end of life in the event of a serious illness or accident, in particular:

  • Limit or stop processing
  • Be transferred to resuscitation if required by health
  • Be put on artificial breathing
  • Undergo surgery
  • Be relieved of your suffering even if it leads to death

FYI  

a person is considered end of life when she is suffering from a serious and incurable condition, in an advanced or terminal phase.

You have to be an adult.

The guardianship adult may issue advance directives with the permission of the judge (or family council, if any).

They must be written, dated and signed.

The document is handwritten or typed.

It is done on free paper, but some health institutions provide a form.

To help you, 2 models are offered, depending on whether you are currently healthy or have a serious illness:

Template for advance directives (development, amendment, cancellation)

You can also ask your regular doctor for advice.

If you are unable to write, you can call 2 witnesses, including your trusted person, to write them for you.

They must certify that this document, written by one of them or by a third party, expresses your will. They must indicate their name, first name and level of relationship with you (brother, friend, ...). Attestation must be included with the advance directives.

Faced with a patient who is no longer able to express his wishes, doctors must ask whether he has drafted advance directives.

It is therefore important that they be easily accessible.

You must inform your doctor and loved ones of their existence and place of conservation. So when the time comes, the doctor who will accompany you at the end of your life will know where to find your instructions to implement.

If shared medical folder has been created in your name, it is recommended that you save your advance directives there. They will be easily accessible if needed.

If you do not have a shared medical record, you can entrust your advance instructions to your doctor, who will keep them in the file that he has compiled on your behalf.

If you are hospitalised for a serious illness or admitted to an institution for the elderly, you can refer your instructions to that hospital or institution. It will integrate them into your file.

Finally, you can also entrust your instructions to your trusted person, a family member or a close relative.

You can also keep them at home and/or have on you an indication of where they are kept.

FYI  

since 1to In January 2022, the automatic creation of a digital health space for all users of the health system automatically results in the creation of a shared medical record (DMP) or the integration of the DMP already open.

Instructions are required for any decision to investigate, intervene or treat.

However, not necessary in the following 2 cases:

  • In the event of a vital emergency for the time required for a full assessment of the situation (e.g., patient to be resuscitated following a brutal health accident)
  • Where the advance directives appear manifestly inappropriate or not in accordance with the medical situation. In this case, the doctor must make his decision in a collegial procedure. This decision is therefore made by several doctors who discuss the case. Once made, this decision is in the medical file. The decision to refuse to apply the advance directives shall be notified to the trusted person or, if not, family or relatives.

Please note

in the absence of advance directives, physicians must seek the advice of the trusted person or, failing that, any other opinion of the family or relatives. Based on this advice, physicians will make their decisions based on medical conditions.

Advance directives have an unlimited duration.

However, they may be modified or cancelled at any time.

You can use a template to change or cancel your advance directives:

Template for advance directives (development, amendment, cancellation)

If you want to change your advance directives, you can write new ones. Ask your doctor, hospital or medical-social institution that keeps them to remove the previous ones.

If they have been saved on your shared medical record, you can save new ones. Only the most recent document will be considered.

If you are unable to write, you can call 2 witnesses, including your trusted person, to write them for you.

They must certify that this document, written by one of them or by a third party, expresses your will. They must indicate their name, first name and level of relationship with you (brother, friend, ...). Attestation must be included with the advance directives.