What are the advance directives ?
Advance directives are written instructions given in advance by a person to express his or her wishes regarding end-of-life issues, in the event that he or she is unable to express his or her wishes. These documents must be taken into consideration by the medical profession in situations where the discontinuation or limitation of treatment or the artificial prolongation of life is envisaged.
The advantage of advance directives ?
The will that you have expressed through these guidelines will take precedence over that of your family or those around you. In this way, you free your loved ones from the heavy responsibility of making decisions for you. This is a difficult situation to bear and manage, when most of the time they ignore the will that would have been yours.
Who can write Advance Directives ?
Only adults who are of full age and conscious (with the ability to express their will in a free and informed manner) can write advance directives. Protected adults (under guardianship or curatorship) are not excluded from this system and can therefore draft advance directives.
What form should these take ?
The instructions are a written document, which must be dated and signed, in which you will have expressed your wishes. Your identity must be clear: surname, first name, date and place of birth. What if you are unable to produce such a document but are aware of it? All you have to do is ask two witnesses, including your support person if you have appointed one, to write it for you. These persons must certify that this is an expression of your free and informed consent and attach this certificate to the directive.
Are you bound by advance directives ?
Of course, you have the possibility to reconsider your choices at any time and revoke these instructions. They must have been established less than 3 years before the state of unconsciousness and may, at the end of this period, be renewed by a simple confirmation decision signed on the document. Finally, you may make partial or total changes to the document at any time.
The procedures for keeping advance directives
Advance directives written during your hospital stay are kept in your medical file. However, you can choose to keep them yourself or give them to the person you trust, if you have designated one, to a family member or close friend. In this case, you will have to provide the identity and contact details of the person holding the document so that they can be mentioned in your medical file.