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Psychiatric advance directives: reconciling autonomy and non-consensual treatment

  • Adina Halpern (a1) and George Szmukler (a2)
Abstract

This paper examines the potential for advance directives to be used by people with mental illness. Also known as a ‘living will’, an advance directive enables a competent person to make decisions about future treatment, anticipating a time when they may become incompetent to make such decisions. In Englishlaw, if “clearly established” and “applicable to the circumstances”, an advance directive assumesthe same statusas contemporaneous decisions made by a competent adult. A psychiatric advance directive, anticipating relapse of a psychosis, develops the concept of the living will. We argue it could reconcile two apparently contradictory themes in the current practice of psychiatry - on the one hand, the call to provide for non-consensual treatment outside hospital, and on the other, the promotion of patient autonomy.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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References
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Psychiatric advance directives: reconciling autonomy and non-consensual treatment

  • Adina Halpern (a1) and George Szmukler (a2)
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