The person of trust represents the patient and acts as the patient's 'spokesperson' when the latter is no longer able to make decisions regarding their health on their own.
The person of trust should not be confused with the patient's support person, who assists the patient with health-related formalities and decisions.
The person of trust exercises the patient's healthcare rights when the latter is temporarily or permanently unable to make decisions regarding their state of health on their own.
Who is concerned
An adult patient who is capable of giving their consent may appoint a person of trust to represent them and express their wishes on their behalf. The following persons may be appointed as a person of trust:
- a person close to the patient;
- a healthcare professional.
An emancipated minor may also appoint a person of trust.
To best represent the patient's interests, the person of trust must have discussed the patient's wishes with those close to them.
How to proceed
Any patient who wishes to do so may at any time appoint a person of trustby way of a dated and signed document if they are temporarily or permanently unable to express their wishes and receive the information needed to make health-related decisions. That person will therefore confer with the physician to ensure that the patient's wishes are carried out and their rights enforced.
The person of trust may not give their consent to their appointment in advance. The patient is nevertheless advised to discuss their specific wishes and choices with them.
It is recommended that the document appointing the person of trust be drafted in triplicate:
- one copy for the patient;
- one copy for the treating physician (or any other physician), to be attached to the patient file;
- one copy for the person of trust.
If the patient, while able to express their wishes, is unable to write and sign the document themselves, they may ask 2 witnesses to certify that the document that they were unable to write themselves does indeed expresses their wishes. These witnesses must specify their name and title. Their certification is attached to the power of attorney.
The person of trust appointed by the patient speaks and acts in the interest of the patient if the latter is no longer able to take decisions on their own concerning their state of health.
If the healthcare provider ignores the opinion of the person of trust, they must inform the latter and record the reasons for their decision in the patient file.
An exemption to the obligation of professional secrecy is made for the person of trust. The latter is informed of the patient's state of health so that they can take decisions on behalf of the patient when the latter is unable to express their wishes.
Likewise, the patient file is accessible to the person of trust, who exercises the rights of the patient when the latter is unable to decide for themselves.
If the person of trust fails to comply with the confidentiality of the information concerning the patient, they may face sanctions.
Unless the patient has expressly stated otherwise in writing during their lifetime, the person of trust, after the patient's death, is entitled to have access to the deceased's file, and to have a copy of it forwarded to them to find out the causes of the patient's death, defend their memory, or enforce their legitimate rights.
Advance healthcare directive
The patient is entitled to express their wishes concerning their healthcare at any time, including in matters concerning the end of their life.
Unless they decide otherwise by checking the "no" box on the form, the patient is considered to have given their consent that their appointment of the person of trust also applies in the case of their end-of-life care, if they are no longer able to express their wishes. This concerns their wishes as regards whether or not to stop treatment, resuscitation, etc.
It is possible to revoke the appointment at any time by way of a dated and signed document. All persons in possession of the initial appointment (i.e., the revoked person of trust, treating physician, etc.) must be informed.
Forms / Online services
Attestation de désignation de la personne de confiance (si le patient est dans d'impossibilité d'écrire ou de signer lui-même)