Have You Heard of a Psychiatric Advance Directive?

Seeking treatment when symptoms from mental health conditions become severe can be scary. A person experiencing paranoia, delusions, or hallucinations may not be able to advocate for themselves. They may not be able to tell doctors and nurses which medications they have adverse reactions to, how to best treat their symptoms, and who to call in case of emergencies. This may lead to them being put in situations that exacerbate rather than relieve their symptoms.

One tool that can help is a Psychiatric Advance Directive, or PAD.   A PAD is written by a currently competent person who lives with a mental illness.  The PAD describes treatment preferences and/or names a health care proxy or agent to make decisions if the person is unable to do so for themselves.

What a PAD Can and Cannot Do

A PAD can be used to give consent to administer certain medications and list treatments or actions that have been helpful in the past in alleviating symptoms. A person may give permission to be committed to specific hospitals to avoid an involuntary commitment process that may involve law enforcement and be traumatic for the patient.

However, A PAD may not be followed by medical care providers if it conflicts with generally accepted community standards for medical care, if the treatment requested is not feasible or available, if it conflicts with the law, or if it conflicts with emergency treatment.

For more information on Psychiatric Advance Directives, please go the National Resource on Psychiatric Advance Directives HERE

At Kantor & Kantor, we represent individuals living with mental illness in claims for disability insurance benefits and health insurance claims. If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental illness and you are being denied benefits by your insurance, please call Kantor & Kantor for a free consultation at 877-783-8686 or use our online contact form. We understand, and we can help.


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