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General Principles - Circular No. DHOS / E1 / DGS / SD1B / SD1C / SD4A / 2006/90 of March 2, 2006 relating to the rights of hospitalised patients, including the Hospitalised Patient’s Charter.
1 - Every person is free to choose the health care institution he/she wants to take care of him/her, subject of the limitation of each institution. The public hospital service is accessible to everyone, especially the neediest persons and, in case of emergency, to persons without social security cover. It is adapted to disabled people.
2 - Health care institutions must guarantee the quality of reception, treatment and care. They must be attentive to pain relief and do everything possible to ensure everyone is treated with dignity, particularly at the end of life.
3 - The information given to the patient must be given accessible and reliable. The hospitalised patient can participate in the choice of treatment. He/she may be assisted by a “legal proxy” that he/she freely choose.
4 - A medical procedure can only be conducted with the free and informed consent of the patient. The latter has the right to refuse all treatment. Any adult can express his/her wishes as to the end of his life in advance directives.
5 - A specific consent is particularly needed, for patients participating in biomedical research, for the donation and use of parts of human body and for screening procedures.
6 - A person who is asked to participate in biomedical research must be informed, in particular, of the expected benefits and foreseeable risks. His/her agreement must be given in writing. His/her refusal will not have any effect on the quality of care that he/she receives.
7 - The hospitalized patient can, unless an exception is provided by law, leave the institution at any time after having been informed of any risks incurred.
8 - The hospitalised patient must be treated with consideration. His/her beliefs must be respected, his/her privacy and peace must be ensured.
9 - Respect of privacy is guaranteed to every person as well as confidentiality of personal, administrative, medical and social information concerning him/her.
10 - The hospitalized patient (or his/her legal representatives) benefits from direct access to health information concerning him/her. Under certain conditions, in case of death, his/her benebisiaries have the same right.
11 - The hospitalised patient can express his/her views on the care and reception provided. In each institution, a commission for relations with users and the quality of patient care given ensures, particularly, that the rights of users are respected. Every patient has the right to be heard by a manager of the institution to express his grievances and request compensation for harm to which he/she believes he/she has been subjected within the contect of an amicable settlement procedure for disputes and / or in courts.
N.B : The complete Hospitalised Patient’s Charter is accessible in your hospital care department.
According to the Law of 4 March 2002, the patient has an opportunity to designate a “legal proxy” in writing. This action is personal and non-compulsory.
What is the “legal proxy”’s role ?
If the patient wishes, the “legal proxy” may accompany them in their actions and attend to medical appointments assisting in their decisions. In case of a grave diagnosis or prognosis, the “the legal proxy” receives information to support the patient. When the patient is unable to express their will for themselves, the healthcare professional must consult with the “legal proxy”and give them all necessary information before any intervention or investigation. This consultation with the “legal proxy” does not exclude informing the family. The “legal proxy” has no access to medical records. Their role is different from that of the “emergency contact” person.
Who can be the “legal proxy”?
An adult who has prior acquaintance of the hospitalised person (parent, relative, physician...).
How to designate the “legal proxy”:
It must be made in writing and delivered at the time of your admission at healthcare service. It is valid for the whole period of hospitalisation. It may be revoked at any time. Ask the administration staff for the necessary documentation.
The Act of 22 April 2005 on the Rights of patients and the end of life makes it possible for any adult to write advanced directives in case they would one day be unable to express their will. This action is personal and non-compulsory.
What is the role of advance directives ? To express the patient’s advance instructions regarding their right to limit or forgo the treatment at the end of life.
Who can write them ? The person themselves.
When ? At any time.
For how long ? Valid for three years, they can be modified and revoked at any time.
How to store them ? Please make them easily accessible to the author, physician, medical record, “legal proxy”, family and relatives.
When are they consulted ? At the end of life, when the person is unable to express his or her will.
How to write them ? It must be a written document, with personal information, date and place of birth, dated and signed by the author.
Example of advance directives:
- My expectations for the pain and its treatment
- My choice relating to some surgical treatments or interventions
- My wish or refusal of resuscitation
- My position on artificial feeding and hydrating
- What I mean by "use of intensive medication"
(If the text was dictated, please enter name / first name / quality of both witnesses and their signature.)
Whatever your questions, feel free to talk about it with your attending physician, the hospital doctor or the nursing staff.