Survey Shows that Advance Directives Are Becoming Better-Known

Five years after the Claeys-Leonetti Act of February 2, 2016 was enacted, the National Centre for Palliative and End of Life Care (“CNSPFV”) conducted a poll.

In January 2021, the BVA Institute conducted a survey over the phone using a sample of 902 French citizens of age 50 and over, considered representative of this population.

The opinion poll revealed that individuals are better acquainted with the law’s implications: 48% are familiar with advance directives and 72% know what the Durable Medical Power of Attorney is.

The “CNSPFV” Director, Brahim Bouselmi, wonders if the recent increase in the number of advance directives could be due to a “Covid effect”: 18% of the individuals surveyed have now drafted their wishes (up from 11% in 2018 and 13% in 2019). The poll demonstrated that almost one in five French citizens admitted that the pandemic incited them to think about the end of their life. Nonetheless, it is not easy to write one’s advance directives and there is still much reluctance: 54% of those responding simply have no desire to write them.

The most popular aspect is designating one’s Medical Power of Attorney: 73% of those who are familiar with advance directives have already designated someone or are considering doing so.

According to the survey, the favorite way of communicating their wishes is oral (61% vs. 34%). Discussions with their loved ones are clearly privileged (57%) compared to writing advance directives or discussing the subject with caregivers.

In October 2020, the “CNSPFV” carried out workshops to develop new ways to facilitate citizens’ understanding and to help them draft advance directives. It is vital that the citizens’ understanding of the provisions of the Claeys-Leonetti law be incorporated in the future plan for developing palliative and end-of-life care.

Alliance VITA has published a guide for Advance Directives which can either be downloaded or ordered online from our web site. The SOS End of Life listening service is also available for support and to assist in drafting one’s advance directives.

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