Purpose: Italy has long lacked a law regulating patients' informed consent and advance directives (ADs). All previous attempts to introduce a law on this matter failed to reach positive outcomes, and aroused heated ideological debate over the exact meaning of life and death. We report on the new law on informed consent and ADs approved by the Italian Parliament on 14th December 2017.Materials and methods: We analyse the new law and discuss the main ethical points connected with it, in the Italian context and in comparison with the international situation.Results: The law provides for fundamental ethical principles and important guidelines: respect for patients' self-determination in all phases of life, option to refuse or interrupt life-sustaining treatments, including artificial nutrition and hydration, the legitimacy of end-of-life decisions, and the implementation of palliative care to ease suffering and pain.Conclusions: The effects of the new law must be tested in the field. Its objectives will be achieved if, in clinical practice, ADs are able to satisfactorily represent informed personal preferences through patients' relationships with their physicians, as part of personalized advance care planning. Future studies are necessary to assess the impact of the new law in Italy. (C) 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

The Italian law on informed consent and advance directives: new rules of conduct for the autonomy of doctors and patients in end-of-life care

Gorini I.;De Stefano F.;
2018

Abstract

Purpose: Italy has long lacked a law regulating patients' informed consent and advance directives (ADs). All previous attempts to introduce a law on this matter failed to reach positive outcomes, and aroused heated ideological debate over the exact meaning of life and death. We report on the new law on informed consent and ADs approved by the Italian Parliament on 14th December 2017.Materials and methods: We analyse the new law and discuss the main ethical points connected with it, in the Italian context and in comparison with the international situation.Results: The law provides for fundamental ethical principles and important guidelines: respect for patients' self-determination in all phases of life, option to refuse or interrupt life-sustaining treatments, including artificial nutrition and hydration, the legitimacy of end-of-life decisions, and the implementation of palliative care to ease suffering and pain.Conclusions: The effects of the new law must be tested in the field. Its objectives will be achieved if, in clinical practice, ADs are able to satisfactorily represent informed personal preferences through patients' relationships with their physicians, as part of personalized advance care planning. Future studies are necessary to assess the impact of the new law in Italy. (C) 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
http://www.elsevier.com/inca/publications/store/6/2/3/1/4/3/index.htt
Advance directives; Artificial nutrition and hydration; End-of-life decisions; Informed consent; Living will; Self-determination; Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11383/2077700
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