What happens if an accident or serious illness makes you unable to participate in a medical decision? By a living will, or patient testament, it can be said that in disease situations that will lead to death, no treatment is desired that would artificially prolong life. This is not about active euthanasia - this is prohibited by law in Germany. However, for many sufferers, living will is a way to self-determinedly die dignified and without pain.
Living will, preventive power, care order
In principle, there are three ways to make provision for the case.
- With a living will, the undersigned determines what medical treatment he wants to have in the event he is no longer fit for purpose.
- With a precautionary power of attorney one grants a trusted person authority in matters of property and personal matters. This person decides when you are no longer able to do it yourself.
- With a supervision order you give the court a recommendation as to who should be appointed as a supervisor. This is only necessary if you have not given any precautionary power.
Fear of long-term care
Over 900, 000 people die each year in Germany. According to a survey by Infratest commissioned by the patient protection organization Deutsche Hospiz Stiftung, about half of Germans would rather choose to commit suicide than to be nursing. Accordingly, 51 percent of women and 49 percent of men see a way out in the accompanying suicide.
The fear of long-term care is so great for many people.
What is a living will?
A living will refers to the dying process or a permanent loss of vital bodily functions with foreseeable fatalities. It contains instructions on terminal care, although it is possible to expressly name a possible refusal of treatment, such as resuscitation. This means giving up life-prolonging treatment if you are terminally ill and dying.
It also means a palliative treatment that includes the delivery of pain-relieving medicines to mortally ill people, even though these drugs can, as a side effect, speed up the onset of death.