Patient's Instructions / Advance Directive / Advance Decisions and further options to plan ahead

Many people are afraid of finding themselves in a hopeless condition or unconscious and connected to machines in a hospital and being kept alive artificially for a long period of time. They are afraid of pointless operations and ineffective pharmaceutical therapies. They would like to give life to their years, not years to their life.

Against this helplessness and feeling of being at the mercy of high-tech medicine, there is only one tried and tested method: Patient’s Instructions (also called Advance Directive or Living Will) which can be legally implemented. This involves, on the one hand, a binding unequivocal text drafted by experienced specialists, and on the other hand, an organisation such as DIGNITAS which can ensure that the Patient’s Instructions are carried out, even, if need be, in the face of resistance.

For the duration of their membership, DIGNITAS supplies its members with legally effective Patient’s Instructions. These must be respected by doctors and hospital nursing staff and, in order to ensure that those instructions are carried out, DIGNITAS provides its members with the direct support of a lawyer, if necessary. However, because Patient’s Instructions are closely related to the law of the country in which they are issued, this service can generally only be granted within Switzerland.

It is advisable to give copies of the Patient’s Instructions to family members, friends, one’s general practitioner (GP), the health insurance, etc.; for this, DIGNITAS-members receive sufficient small-size copies and may carry one copy with them at all times.

There are several further possibilities to “plan ahead and prepare for the known and the unknown”. The starting point is to think about one’s measure of value in regard to one’s own life. What is it that I want to happen in a specific situation, for example when facing a severe illness or if I cannot handle my own affairs anymore? What should happen if, for whatever reason, I can no longer interact with my environment and thus cannot express my will? Read more, starting on page 6 of the following reader/brochure >> Link to the text (PDF)


Latest News


Well Worth Seeing


Twenty years after John's death

>> more


Assisted Dying is not the easy way out

>> more


"Cracking the taboo on suicide is the best means to prevent suicide attempts and deaths by suicide"

>> more


Research Report for End of Life Choices Jersey

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

death: the human experience

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery: death - the human experience

>> more

death: is it your right to choose?

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery: death - is it your right to choose

>> more


Documentaries and more

>> llink


P.O. Box 17
8127 Forch

Telephone international
+41 43 366 10 70
Telephone within Switzerland
043 366 10 70
(Mon to Fri, 9:00 - 12:00 / 13:30 - 16:30 hours)

Fax international
+41 43 366 10 79
Fax within Switzerland
043 366 10 79