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The living will offers the possibility of exercising the right to self-determination in advance. It is a written declaration of intent in the event that you lose your ability to make decisions. In it, a person declares their wish that certain medical treatments should be avoided. With an advance directive, specific treatments are therefore rejected in advance. For example, this concerns the situation of unconsciousness or a serious illness in which the person concerned is no longer able to make decisions himself.
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The legal basis is the Living Will Act (PatVG). This regulates the following points:
- General validity requirements and possible contents
- The possibility of drawing up a binding or non-binding living will
- Storage in ELGA (note: planned ELGA function)
For a binding living will, there are formal requirements with regard to content, information, establishment and renewal.
If all the requirements of a binding living will are not met, the declaration of intent must still be taken into account when determining the patient's will - and the more so, the more conditions a binding living will are met.
An important prerequisite for a living will is that the patient is able to understand and judge when it is drawn up. This means that the person must be able to see the reason and the significance of a refused treatment and be able to determine their will accordingly. The living will can only be concluded by the person himself, not by a representative.
This is how a living will is drawn up
A medical consultation must take place before the establishment. The trusted doctor checks and documents the patient's insight and judgment and provides information about the effects of the living will on medical treatment. Together, the rejected treatment measures are described as specifically as possible. The doctor charges a fee for this service, which must be paid privately. The state medical associations can provide support in the search for a doctor to provide information.
In a next step must be a binding living will build writing are, namely in front of a lawyer / a lawyer, a notary / notary, before a legally qualified employee / a legally qualified employee of the Patient Representative (Patient Advocate) or before a legally qualified employee / a legally qualified employee of a Adult protection association.
A binding living will is valid for a maximum period of eight years and must be renewed before it expires. It can also be revoked at any time.
From an entrained Note Card health workers in the present case can see that a living will was built and where it has been deposited.
Note on living will register : Living wills can also be registered in the living will register of the Austrian notary's office (PatVR) and in the living will register of Austrian lawyers for a fee. This register is kept by the Austrian Chamber of Notaries in cooperation with the Austrian Red Cross. Hospitals can inspect them around the clock.
More information and advice
In order to find out more about the possibility of living wills, the patient advocacy offices offer an initial consultation by telephone or in person.
On the website of the Lower Austrian Patient and Nursing Advocacy you will find comprehensive information and documents on living wills:
- Advise living will with formulation aids
- Online form for drawing up a living will or renewal after eight years
- Clue card
Further information and advice:
- Umbrella organization Hospice Austria
- Chamber of Notaries