Patient capacity in mental health care: legal overview
Nys, Herman × Welie, Sander Garanis-Papadatos, Tina Ploumpidis, Dimitris #
Health care analysis : HCA : journal of health philosophy and policy vol:12 issue:4 pages:329-37; discussion 265-72
The discriminatory effects of categorizing psychiatric patients into competent and incompetent, have urged lawyers, philosophers and health care professionals to seek a functional approach to capacity assessment. Dutch and English law have produced some guidelines concerning this issue. So far, most legal systems under investigation have concentrated on alternatives for informed consent by the patient in case of mental incapacity, notably substitute decision-making, intervention of a judge and advance directives. It is hard to judge the way in which the law may further adapt to a more functional assessment of capacity, because the nature of law shows that legal reforms usually take place only when new methods have been accepted by the field. This is not yet the case today.