Those who meet the requirements of ˹Life-sustaining Treatment Decisions Act˼ can prepare and leave their intention for life-sustaining treatment through Advance Directives and Life-sustaining Treatment Plan.
Any person of age 19 and above can prepare an Advance Directive on Life-sustaining Treatment even though he or she is healthy. However, you are required to visit the Registry Agencies for Advancec Directives designated by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and fill out the form after receiving sufficient explanations in order to make it legally valid.
Life-sustaining Treatment Plan is a written form for those who have been diagnosed or assessed as terminal patients or patients at the end stage of life by the doctor in charge and one medical specialist at a medical institution where Ethics Committee has been established.
Even though a patient has already filled out the Advance Directives or Life-sustaining Treatment Plan, the patient himself or herself can amend or withdraw the intention at any time.
|Advance Directives||Life-sustaining Treatment Plan|
|Target||Adults ages 19 and above||Terminal patients or Patients at the end stage of life|
|Prepared by||Patient himself or herself||Prepared by the doctor in charge upon request of the patient|
|Explained by||Counselor||Doctor in charge|
designated by the Ministry of Health and Welfare
with registered Ethics Committee
Although the patient revealed the intention that he or she does not want to receive life-sustaining treatment through an Advance Directive on Life-sustaining Treatment or Life-sustaining Treatment Plan, the patient is required to go through the following process to actually decline life-sustaining treatment.
Assessment of patient at the end stage of life
First, the person should be assessed by the doctor in charge and one medical specialist at a medical institution with Ethics Committee as a patient in a state of imminent death, in which there is no possibility of revitalization or recovery despite treatment, and symptoms worsen rapidly.
Verification of decisions of the patient or patient’s family
Next, the fact that the patient does not wish to receive life-sustaining treatment should be verified through Life-sustaining Treatment Plan or Advance directive on Life-sustaining Treatment. If both Life-sustaining Treatment Plan and Advance directive on Life-sustaining Treatment do not exist, and if it is impossible for the patient to express his or her intention, it is also allowed for two or more family members of the patient to identically state the patient’s intention for life-sustaining treatment as stated before, and for the doctor in charge and the medical specialist in the relevant field to review them. If all cases above are not possible, all of the family members of the patient can make a decision together for the patient, which should be verified by the doctor in charge and the medical specialist in the relevant field. If the patient is a minor, the person with parental rights can make the decision.
Withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment
If the medical assessment (STEP 1) that treatment is no longer effective for the patient medically and the requirement (STEP 2) that the patient does not want to receive treatment any more are met at the same time,life-sustaining treatment may not be enforced.