Medics wants to make it easier for patients to leave advanced directive for medical treatment

  • 2019-07-14
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The Latvian Medical Association wants to make it easier for patients to leave a legal document specifying what actions should be taken for their health if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves because of illness or incapacity, the association’s president Ilze Aizsilniece told LETA.

The association’s head informed that the Health Ministry together with the Latvian Medical Association has started work on a new initiative to revise Latvia’s existing legislative provisions and guidelines, as well as the European Union’s (EU) recommendations and practice in other countries regarding the living will, also known as the advanced directive, a document leaving instructions for treatment at the end of the person’s life.

Aizsilniece said that more and more people who return to Latvia from foreign countries want to make their living will on what medical treatment or manipulations they would authorize or reject at the end of their lives.

Such legally correctly formulated decisions are not only internationally accepted practice, they also take off the burden of responsibility from the patient’s relatives, Aizsilniece said.

Under the current law, a person who wants to make a living will has to use the services of a notary, which costs money and does not ensure the document’s availability when it is most needed. In Latvia, such a document cannot be registered in the digital environment and patients always have to carry it with them.

In Aizsilniece’s words, it has been suggested storing patients’ living wills in the e-health portal where each patient could revise and amend their advanced directives upon consulting their healthcare specialists and in line with their ethical values.