How and When should I create a Psychiatric Advance Directive?
I’ve read somewhere that a Psychiatric Advance Directive includes my instructions on how I should be treated, which services are involved, what should not be involved and the like -when I face a mental meltdown or suffer some kind of mental illness. I am wondering, when really should someone do this, how is it drafted and if its done by anyone, shouldn’t everyone then do it? Why not just trust the doctors to come-up with a suitable treatment procedure, should I be instructing them what to do? Please help explain. Thanks!
According to “Mental Health America”, an advance directive is a written document that expresses your wishes in advance about what types of treatments, services and other assistance you want during a personal mental health crisis. A directive provides a clear statement of your medical treatment preferences and other wishes or instructions. You can also use it to grant legal decision-making authority to another person to be your advocate and agent until the crisis is over.
What could be the benefits of having an advance directive?
A psychiatric advance directive can:
- Promote your autonomy and empowerment;
- Enhance communications between you, your doctor, treatment team and family;
- Protect you from ineffective, unwanted or possibly harmful treatment or actions;
- Help prevent crisis situations and reduce the use of involuntary treatment or safety interventions, such as restraint or seclusion.
This is important for anyone to draft, especially if they have ever experienced episodes of severe mental illness, or if you have a mental illness case in your family history. It helps to ensure that you are subjected to the kind of treatment and medication agreed upon by you when you are still fine, this is mostly because treatments (esp. trial treatment procedures) can be extreme and sometimes unpredictable. Sort this out on paper in advance and guarantee your well-being should there be any episode of mental challenges.
When would you need a Psychiatric Advance Directive?
An advance directive goes into effect if you are hospitalized and it has been determined that you lack the capacity to make decisions for yourself. By writing your advance directive when your capacity is not in question, you have the opportunity to better influence what happens during a hospital stay. In an emergency situation, however, it is important to understand that doctors retain the authority to make decisions that are deemed necessary to ensure your safety and that of other patients and hospital staff.
What should a psychiatric advance directive include?
You can include the medications and dosages that you know are most helpful to you and those that you do not wish to receive; names of facilities or healthcare professionals you want involved in your care, and people who can help you with important activities (such as paying your bills, and taking care of your children, pets or plants). You can also even identify the people you do or do not want as visitors if you’re hospitalized.
Overall, there are no downsides, especially if you have a better understanding of your general health history than anyone else to draft the directive than to not.
I hope this helps. Thank you!