Advance Healthcare Directives commonly known as a Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney, typically concerns all aspects of health care, including mental health care. However, if you’re concerned about your own or a loved one’s mental health for the future, it may make sense to list out special instructions regarding mental and psychiatric health care to help guide your chosen agent.
Mental health issues cover a large range of possibilities, including medication, commitment, and treatments received in a psychiatric facility. There can be side effects from certain psychiatric medicines that may sway you away from having them prescribed, so it’s important to gain as much information about these medications as you can when creating your advanced medical directives. Commitment and treatments such as electroshock therapy come into play for serious psychiatric disorders and would most likely be out of your control, but it may help to speak with a medical professional and an Ohio elder law attorney to learn about the options you have if these treatments are deemed necessary.
For seniors, the most common mental health care issue is dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease and Lewy Body brought on by Parkinson’s. When creating an Advance Healthcare Directive that addresses mental health concerns, it’s important to discuss the options that may be available to you with a physician or mental health professional. In addition, you’ll want to include your agent – the person entrusted with making health care decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated – in discussions about your mental health care so they are aware of your wishes and can address any concerns with you before the time comes.
As noted above, most Advance Healthcare Directives cover mental health issues; however, having an overlapping document that specifically details your wishes for future mental health care would provide an extra layer of protection and possibly remove some questions and doubt for your agent. Keep in mind that any health care crisis is stressful for health care agents and that having advance directives that convey your wishes will help put their mind at ease.
If you would like to get more information about mental health care and advance medical directives, or if you’d like to discuss a current situation concerning mental health issues and advance directives, please contact our Ohio elder law firm at 877-653-3450 to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.