Now Mental Health Patients Can Specify Their Care Before Hallucinations and Voices Overwhelm Them: Psychiatric advance directives allow patients with serious mental illness to specify the treatment they want if they become too sick to say so.
[...] He completed a psychiatric advance directive, a legal document declaring what treatment he does and doesn’t want. Increasingly, patients, advocates and doctors believe such directives (called PADs) could help transform the mental health system by allowing patients to shape their care even when they lose touch with reality. Hospitals must put them in patients’ medical records and doctors are expected to follow them unless they document that specific preferences aren’t in the patients’ best medical interest.
As the pendulum has swung from institutionalization to outpatient care, psychiatric directives also offer a middle path by allowing patients to designate family members to speak for them when they’re too sick to do so themselves.
But some doctors and hospitals are wary that the documents could tie their hands and discourage treatment they consider warranted. Some worry the directives won’t be updated to reflect medical advances. Others question whether people with serious psychiatric conditions are ever capable of lucidly completing such directives. [...]bioethics doctor-patient relationship health law policy medical safety mental health public health