The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) Calls on Respecting the Lives and Medical Care Discretion of the Terminally Ill

  • Data Source:Ministry of Health and Welfare
  • Created:2014-08-25
  • Last Updated:2017-01-11

In 2000, the ‘Palliative Care Regulations’ were put into practice in Taiwan. It was formulated to respect the wishes of terminally ill patients regarding medical care and to guarantee their rights. Their families, doctors and hospitals all ought to respect the patients’ wishes, and fully utilize palliative care. If the dying patient has signed the Letter of Intent of palliative care, and the hospital chooses to ignore and still operates CPR, in accordance with Article 10, in serious cases, the hospital shall be fined (at least NT$60,000 and up to NT$300,000), be suspended under penalty (at least 1 month and up to 1 year), or its license shall be abolished. 

The public usually finds it painfully difficult to make decisions for their terminally ill families – whether to opt for putting them into ICU or palliative care. Due to this, the National Health Insurance Administration of MOHW has included ‘Palliative Care Family Consultation Fare’ into the medical insurance program since December 2012. The participants of consultations include attending physicians, patients or patients’ families. This is to encourage hospitals to proactively promote the practice of palliative care, in order to reduce misusage of medical care before deaths. 

In order to raise the awareness of palliative care among the public, this year (2014) MOHW has authorized the Taiwan Hospice Organization (THO) to publish ‘Case Study Collection of Medical Institutions’ Implementation on Palliative Care’, in which there are more than 15 case studies of national medical institutions operating palliative care. The collection encompasses case studies, solutions, legal evidence, practical discussions and other aspects. It also analyzes the ethical hardships of patients, families, and medical staff. MOHW has also authorized THO to establish a free-of-charge palliative care advice helpline 0800-220-927 (Reassurance with Hospice) since March 2013, to answer the public’s questions regarding this topic. 

With respect to the dignity of life, when patients only have limited time left, we must respect their wishes, and make full use of palliative care. So that whether they choose to go into the palliative care hospital rooms, or choose to stay at home with hospice care, they can pass away peacefully and with dignity. We should let them have dignified lives and quality time before death.