Living will – respecting the will of seriously ill people

What is,if you are no longer able to have a say in a medical decision due to an accident or a serious illness? With an advance directive, also known as the patient’s will, you can express that you do not want any treatment that would artificially lengthen your life in illnesses that will lead to death. This is not about active euthanasia – this is prohibited by law in Germany. For many of those affected, however, the living will is a way of dying independently, with dignity and pain.


Living will, power of attorney, care will


In principle, there are three ways to make provisions just in case.


With a living will of the signer end determines what medical treatment he wants to have in the case in which he is no longer capable of utterance.


A power of attorney gives a person of trust a power of attorney in property and personal matters. This person decides when you are no longer able to do so yourself.


With a care decree , you give the court a recommendation as to who should be appointed as a carer. This is only necessary if you have not issued a health care proxy.



The fear of being in need of care


Over 900,000 people die in Germany every year. According to a survey by Infratest on behalf of the patient protection organization Deutsche Hospiz Stiftung, around half of Germans would prefer to commit suicide rather than become nursing care. Accordingly, 51 percent of women and 49 percent of men see a way out in assisted suicide.


What is an advance directive for?

A living will refers to the process of dying or to a no longer changeable failure of vital body functions with foreseeable consequences of death. It contains instructions on end-of- life care, whereby a possible waiver of treatment – such as resuscitation measures – can be expressly stated. That means doing without life-prolonging treatment if you are terminally ill and dying.
In addition, palliative treatment is meant, which includes the dispensing of pain-relieving medication to fatally ill people, even if these medications can accelerate death as a side effect.

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