For Patients and Relatives
Questions Are Important
We encourage you to ask questions about everything you are going through!
You have the right to know everything about your illness and treatment options. Physicians can sometimes shorten or limit their explanations, making it seem like there are only a few treatment options. But a wide variety of treatment options exist, and you have the right to choose what is best for you.
Know as well that once started, all treatment options - whether it's chemotherapy or artificial nutrition - can be stopped at any time. Even prematurely, i.e. before completing the full course of what was planned or prescribed.
Always remember that you are the expert when it comes to your illness and your body. Doctors are experts only in the theory of illness and treatment. You alone know what is best for you, what feels right and what doesn’t.
When a disease is well advanced, special consideration must be given regarding whether a potentially life-extending treatment outweighs the risks and side effects associated with it.
You have the right to specifically ask:
· How much more time is this treatment expected to give me to live? Is it three years, three months or three weeks?
· What risks are associated with this treatment? Are any of these life threatening?
· What side effects can I expect?
· Will my daily life be severely or partially affected?
· Are there any interactions between treatments, i.e. chemotherapy and radiotherapy?
You also have the right to seek a second opinion.
We are happy to help you select the treatment option that suits you best.
The Patients' Rights Act, created in 2013, states that you have the right to review your patient records at any time. Wherever possible, it is always a good idea to keep copies of doctors’ letters or reports. We can help you "translate" these into easily understandable language and discuss treatment advantages and disadvantages with you. We can also help explain prescription medications, which often come with complex and anxiety-inducing information details.
We can also go through treatment options that you may have found online, reviewing the information together. With every treatment option, it is very important to consider how your quality of life will be impacted.
We recommend that you create a living will, and we can help you with this. The format and instructions in a living will should be as clear as possible. Even more important is identifying a trusted person and officially giving them power of attorney to oversee your interests if you are unable to do so yourself. You should talk in detail with this person about your wishes regarding current and end-of-life treatment options. The more thoroughly this person knows your wishes, the easier it will be for them to confidently implement instructions set forth in the living will.