End of Life Ireland

EOLI Advance Healthcare Directive

An Advance Healthcare Directive (AHD) is a statement made by a competent adult relating to the type and extent of medical treatments they wish to receive. It is a way of formally making known to others what your wishes are for end-of-life care. It’s a seven-page document that you fill in to fit with your beliefs and wishes. You can download a copy of an AHD here.

These directives are not, as yet, legally binding documents in Ireland.  

They are the honest and intelligent expressions of someone’s wishes and as such, it is hoped they will be of considerable benefit to the families, friends and medical advisers of those who complete them. An AHD is sometimes referred to as a ‘Living Will’, completion of which is not  asking doctors or nurses to do anything illegal, nor is it a request for euthanasia.  

It is everyone’s right to accept or refuse medical treatment.  Importantly, if death results from the withholding or withdrawing of life-sustaining treatment, it must not be considered as a suicide.

By talking ahead of time, family disagreements will hopefully be minimised, and relatives relieved of the burden of responsibility , especially when a loved one has lost their mental capacity to make their own decisions about medical treatment and care.  An AHD is a way in which a patient’s wishes can be made clear. 

Please do read our series of blog posts outlining how to prepare for end of life, which includes directions on how to complete your Advance Healthcare Directive.