Rights of the terminal patient
We must bear in mind that death is the greatest, sometimes dreaded and difficult transition in life; the dying patient is often misinformed, insecure, anguished, depressed, hopeless, aching and with multiple symptoms, according to his illness.
These experiences at the end of life are usually less recognized and treated. The essential thing is to understand that the terminal patient is in a particularly vulnerable situation and that it takes all empathy and compassion to alleviate these feelings, and to allow him to accept with more resignation the end of his life, as an unavoidable fact.
The patient has the right to:
- Keep the same dignity and autonomy to which they have been entitled in life, until the end of it.
- Obtain truthful, frank and complete information about the diagnosis, treatment options, and prognosis.
- Be attended by professionals who are sensitive to their needs and fears in their process of approaching death, but competent in their field and sure of what they do.
- Be the central axis of the decisions made in the final stage of their lives.
- Not to extend their suffering, nor that extreme and heroic measures are applied to sustain their vital functions.
- Get effective relief from pain and symptoms, even if the medications or actions required to do so will reduce the remaining lifetime.
- That the needs and fears of their loved ones be taken into account before and after their death.
- Receive spiritual assistance whenever they request it and to have their religious beliefs respected, whatever they may be.
- Know and receive explanations about the costs of the services received. In an urgent situation, it must be attended without requiring prior payment.
- Know and receive reports about the values of the services received. In a critical situation, it must be attended without requiring prior payment.
- Dying with dignity, as comfortably and peacefully as possible.