Legal representation of the patient

Who can exercise the rights of the patients who is not capable to do so?

The confidant

A family member, friend, other patient or any other person designated by the patient to assist him/her in obtaining information on his/her state of health, the perusal of his/her health records or obtaining a copy of his/her health records, and in lodging a complaint. 

The representative

If the patient is not capable to exercise his/her patients' rights, the representative is the person who exercices the patients' rights on the latter's behalf. This distinguishes the representative from the confidant, who only assists him/her.

If the patient is a minor

The parents (father, mother) or the guardians are entitled to exercise these rights. However, the minor can fully of partly exercise his/her rights independently, if the healthcare practicioner is of the opinion that (s)he is able to assess his/her best interests in a reasonable manner.

The patient is an adult

Appointed representative 
By means of an authorisation that is written, dated and signed beforehand, the patient can designate a person whom (s)he trusts, who will act in his/her name if and as long as the patient is not capable to personnaly exercise his/her rights. For more information, www.patientrights.be.

This is the person who represents the patient after authorisation by justice of peace, and if the patient has not designated a representative.

If the patient has not designated a representative, the former's rights are exercised by the following persons in order of substitution: co-habiting spouse or partner, adult child, parent, adult sister or brother. If there is a conflict between several possible representatives (e.g. several children) or if there is no representative, the healthcare practicioner, in deliberation with the multi-disciplinary team, looks after the patient's best interests.

Source: Brochure FOD - law ‘patient rights'