Upon request from the Minister of Solidarity and Health, for the second consecutive year, the French National Center for Palliative and End-of-Life Care (subsequently referred to by its French acronym: “CNSPFV”) has launched a public awareness campaign on October 15, for palliative care and the end-of-life. In particular, the communication focus targets those who are 50-70 years old.

After the first campaign conducted by “CNSPFV” in early 2017, a report subsequently published in February 2018 pointed out that 15% of general practitioners and 40% of the French population were still unaware of the existence of the recent “Claeys-Leonetti” law on the end-of-life.

The goal for this year’s campaign is to raise public awareness, and encourage thoughts and discussions about the end-of-life, and to eventually encourage writing advance directives. The campaign encompasses different facets: a TV campaign from October 14 to November 15 including questions: “How about discussing the aspects of the end of life?), information via social networks, material specifically for health professionals, and regional meetings…

The “CNSPFV” has also set up a new website intended to provide a reference information platform on palliative and end-of-life care that is adapted and accessible to everyone.

In addition, a new axis for the campaign is focused on supporting healthcare professionals who are most often concerned: general practitioners, nurses and care-givers.

As CNSPFV’s director, Dr. Véronique Fournier, initiated the campaign: “Beyond the issue of advance directives, the challenge is to collectively assuage the end-of-life topic”.

During the first “Let’s speak about the end-of-life” campaign in 2017, Alliance VITA warned against its ambiguity. The finding was that the official campaign presented outrageously simplified answers to complex issues, while amalgams still remained concerning deep sedation and euthanasia and assisted suicide. Based on feedback from its SOS end-of-life listening service, and assisted by its network of caregivers, Alliance VITA has edited a brochure on advance directives to clarify ambiguities and shed light on legal abuses. This practical guide can help the French public understand and write advance directives, while respecting medical ethics, and denouncing both euthanasia and unreasonable therapeutic obstinacy.

Since the 1st campaign in 2017, the French High Health Authority   (“HAS”) published its recommendations of good practice in implementing “deep and continuous sedation until death” in March 2018, provided for by the Claeys-Leoetti law. These recommendations are largely prompted by the CNSPFV’s work, carried out a few months earlier, describing the strict conditions and modalities for implementing this type of sedation.

It is regrettable that the new CNSPFV website doesn’t publish this information on its page describing a practice which must remain an exception, rather than the status quo.