Superseding psychiatric advance directives: ethical and legal considerations.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Psychiatric advance directives (PADs) were introduced in the 1980s as legal instruments for psychiatric patients to retain some choice over their own mental health treatment during periods of decisional incapacity. However, PADs are nested in larger structures of mental health law and policy that protect the interests of parties other than the patient, and which, in situations of conflict involving the treatment of incapacitated patients, tend to favor the clinician's professional judgment over the patient's manifest wishes to avoid standard treatment. Thus, PADs are trumped by civil commitment law and may also be legally overridden by clinicians who, acting in good faith, consider PAD instructions to be inconsistent with accepted clinical standards of care. We discuss philosophical-ethical and legal issues surrounding overriding PADs and offer analysis of the possible future of legal cases in which the question of overriding PADs and fiscal concerns may collide.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Swanson, JW; McCrary, SV; Swartz, MS; Elbogen, EB; Van Dorn, RA

Published Date

  • 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 34 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 385 - 394

PubMed ID

  • 17032962

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1093-6793


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States