What are advance directives?
A disease or accident may make a person incapable of telling health professionals how he/she would like to be cared for.
The advance directive is expressly written in advance with regard to the wishes of a person to undergo or not to undergo a certain type of care in given situations and in the event that person is no longer able to express themselves.
This process is voluntary and not compulsory.
[Geneva healthcare law K 1 03 (FR), art. 47, 48 and 49]
The advance directives will be applied once the person is in a situation where they are no longer able to express their wishes.
Who can draft his/her own advance directives?
Any person capable of discernment, regardless of their age and health status.
What assurance can a person have that their advance directives will be respected?
Health professionals must respect the wishes expressed by the person in their advance directives, as long as this person is in a situation that is anticipated by these advance directives. [Geneva law on healthcare (FR) art. 48, paragraph 1]
Once drafted and signed, can the person change their mind?
Yes, the advance directives may be canceled, added to or modified at any time. The therapeutic representative may, in particular, be changed.
In order to update this document, the person must indicate the new date and must sign it again.
What about in an emergency situation?
In the event of doubts regarding the existence of advance directives and in cases of life-threatening emergencies (for example, as the result of a car accident), the first actions by health professionals will be to preserve life.
Under these particular circumstances and, in the case of an unknown person, the healthcare team does not always have immediate access to advance directives.
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