Aimed primarily at people with chronic or degenerative diseases, advance care planning aims to improve patient autonomy. This process involves discussions about one’s values and preferences and goals for care which are facilitated by a trained professional. This approach makes it possible to best orient one’s care in an emergency or the event that they are unable to express their wished themselves.
Advance directives are legally bringing written documents, used only in the event that a patient is unable to express his or her wishes. These directives give instructions to the physician who would be called upon to manage the patient in an emergency or end-of-life situation. This document can also guide and support the patient's therapeutic representative in making decisions.
Advance directives address the different types of care to which the patient consents and especially those that the patient refuses (e.g., resuscitation, intensive care, artificial feeding and hydration).
The procedure is voluntary and not compulsory (Swiss Civil Code, art. 370, 371, 372).