Frequently asked questions

-What is palliative care?

Palliative care is the treatment given to those suffering a terminal illness in an advanced phase with the objective of bettering the patient’s quality of life, as well as the people surrounding the patient.

-How can I have palliative care at home (delivered)?

Your family doctor will give the information of how to put it in practice, depending on the patient’s medical history. In Catalunya is the CAP (Centro de Atencion Primaria) who will give this information.

-Can I reject the treatment that my doctor suggests? 

Yes. The ill, after receiving all the possible options of treatments, is the only one who decides acceptance or rejection of the treatment.

-If a vital support method has been implemented without the patient’s consent or the family, can one ask for the interruption of the treatment?

Yes. The decision of using such treatments cannot be implemented without the patient’s consent or that of the legal family.

-What is assisted suicide?

Is the action of a person suffering from a terminal illness to end his/her life counting on someone else’s help. When a doctor helps, it is said to be a medically assisted suicide.

-What is euthanasia?

It is to provoke death by means of substances that a medical doctor introduces in the body intentionally, to avoid the suffering provoked by an incurable illness. Asked for by the patient in a free and reiterated way by considering it’s suffering unbearable.

-What is Palliative sedation?

It is the administering of medicine to reach the maximum possible comfort at an extreme, both psychic and physical, case of suffering. When applying this, the patient´s level of consciousness diminishes.

-What is the limitation of therapeutic efforts?

It is to accept the irreversibility of a certain illness and the convenience of abandonment of treatments that will not save the patient. This is where ´Palliative sedation comes into place.

-Can a minor make his/her own ‘Living Will’? Can he/she decide over treatment and its rejection?

(Cases of minors of 18, 15 and 14 years of age, respectively).

.-A minor cannot make his/her own document.

.-A person between 16 and 18 years of age can decide upon his/her treatment but, parents or tutors should be consulted.

.-A person between 14 and 16 years of age cannot decide but, his/her opinion should be taken into account by the parents or tutors.

-Can a mentally ill patient make his/her own document? And, can this patient decide over treatment and its rejection?

According to the type of mental disorder, it is necessary to know the type of mental illness. A psychiatric or psychological specialist should value if the patient has enough faculties to take his/her own decisions over his/her body and health. In these cases it is recommended that the document is issued before a public notary.

-What would be more convenient to write on a Document with an Alzheimer´s diagnosis that still has its mental faculties ?

In the first place, to decide if he/she wants to know about the diagnosis and be able to decide upon his/her own future.

1-If the answer is NO, he/she is transferring the problem to others.

2-If the answer is YES, he/she should decide if to continue till the end in a natural way or not.

3-If the answer is to end in a natural way, he/she is again transferring the problem to others.

4-If the answer is NO, should be able to decide to finish when he/she is still capable of deciding, acting by him/herself or not.

5-If the decision is YES in the first place, he/she can opt for ‘Self Determination’.

6-If the decision is NO, he/she can opt, with a certain degree of deterioration (for example; artificially fed and/or not being able to communicate) not to be fed and be hydrated and sedated when instability symptoms occur.

In all above cases, one can always reject any curative treatment. It is precise to redact a Document that best reunites all points of the decision.

If the patient decides for the last point or option, it is important that he/she makes the ?Living Will’ (before a public notary) in which it is stated clearly that, before a certain point of deterioration, avoid or reject all types of vital treatment that could prolong the life of the patient and ask for the administering of medicine that will end the suffering, sedation included.

-In case of a patient unable to communicate, what happens if the closest family and doctors disagree towards a treatment?

According to the health law, the family is the one to decide among all treatment options possible and, in second term, the medical doctor.