Professor suggests creating nonvoluntary care category for treating psychiatric patients
A University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine instructor has put forward a novel classification in caring for people in psychiatric units who don't want care but probably would have consented to that care if asked when their minds were more stable.
Dr. Dominic Sisti, who teaches medical ethics and health policy at the Perelman School of Medicine, has proposed that medical professionals at psychiatric units would have less to worry about ethically if they could call the treatment of patients not wanting care but who probably would have wanted that care if their minds were stable as nonvoluntary instead of involuntary.
“The current strict limitations on involuntary treatment risk allowing people with psychiatric illness to go untreated and experience worsening symptoms despite compelling evidence that they would want to be well,” Sisti said in an article posted on the Penn Medicine website.
Sisti noted that when medical professionals see compelling information that shows that such patients would have allowed treatment if their minds were stable, classifying their treatment as nonvoluntary would help allow that care.
Sisti said patients in psychiatric units who fall under this classification could include those who requested medical attention when they require it, those who have made it past mental problems and want to keep living free of those problems and those who can't beat drug dependency even when they have said they want to be addiction free.
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