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O-108 Advance directives by surrogate decision makers for incapacitated patients – legal aspects
  1. Bianka A Dörr and
  2. Regina B Aebi-Müller
  1. University of Lucerne, School of Law, Switzerland


Background In our research project «Self-determination at the end of life in Swiss law » we examine whether the current  system of adult incapacity law can – with regard to medical decisions at the end of life – still be described as adequate. In order to understand how these decision-making processes are made a qualitative empirical study with 45 interviews had been conducted. Thereby, a major focus was put on the instrument of advance directives (AD). Regarding ADs the study revealed that this instrument was evaluated quite ambivalent – some voices were very critical, others more positive by valuing it as instrument for protecting patients’ will.

Aim The presentation will explore whether the introduction of an AD by a surrogate decision maker is legally feasible, and how, under what conditions and in which form the legal representative of an incapacitated patient can be fruitfully included into an ACP process.

Methods The results of the above mentioned empirical study form the basis for the project on AD by surrogate decision makers. The array of legal questions linked to this new instrument will be explored. Therefore, all available documents, materials and academic literature from various countries will be surveyed and analysed.

Results As the briefly described project had its start in February 2015, there are currently no results available. At the time of the Conference in September, however, first results will be presented.

Discussion/conclusion It is expected that AD by surrogate decision makers could be suitable to overcome some of the shortcomings of traditional ADs.

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