The Tokyo Fire Department introduced on Monday criteria for stopping resuscitative efforts for patients in the terminal phase of illness.

Until now the department had no clear guidance for how ambulance workers should respond if they are asked to stop resuscitative efforts.

The new criteria call for such requests to be accepted if the patient’s wish not to undergo cardiopulmonary resuscitation can be confirmed by their doctors.

The criteria will apply under the following conditions: that the patients are adults and in the terminal phase of an illness, that they have told their families or others in advance of their wish not to receive resuscitation attempts, and that their condition matches what was assumed when they finalized their will.

The introduction of the criteria comes at a time when home-based care is being promoted and as society is quickly graying.

In preparation for the rollout of the new rules, the fire department held related seminars for ambulance workers in late November.

“The standards were mapped out to respect the will of those suffering injury or disease,” said senior department official Takeshi Ogata. “We aim to be ready to explain sincerely to patients’ families, too.”

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