Mental Health Care Directive Attorneys in Columbia County
Taking Back Your Mental Health Care with a Directive
For many people, their sunset years are filled with joy and a strong sense of accomplishment. For others, mental illnesses such as dementia, major depressive disorder, and other psychiatric issues unique to the senior population, can set in. If this occurs, family members and friends may be required to step in and advocate for the afflicted. If your elderly spouse or loved one is currently experiencing a mental illness that impacts his or her ability to make rational decisions, please continue reading to learn more about your legal options.
What Is a Health Care Directive?
A mental health care directive is a legally binding document that allows a chosen person to make decisions on behalf of another individual. The chosen person is only able to make decisions in the event that the individual is mentally unfit as determined by a treating physician. In most cases, the directive is drafted by the individual, and most of the time, a lawyer is hired to ensure that the document is legal. It must be written when the individual is competent, should outline information regarding finances, and have a plan of treatment. If the elderly individual is currently responsible for another person, the directive should appoint another person as guardian until the individual is able to make rational decisions again.
Designating a Conservator
Periodically, certain illnesses like dementia have radical and unsettling side effects; such as memory loss, personality changes, and severe mood swings. These side effects can cause older individuals to behave in a defiant manner or engage in dangerous behaviors, which can sometimes require forced hospitalization. Sadly, your loved one may not agree to seek treatment, and if they are truly in danger, you will need a way to help them receive the medical attention they deserve.
When drafting a directive, it may be wise to discuss the formation of a conservatorship as well. A conservatorship will allow a chosen person (conservator), to make decisions on behalf of another individual (ward). The conservator must take responsibility in the event that the ward becomes incapacitated or cannot make rational decisions. He or she will also be allowed to make critical decisions regarding the ward’s treatment plan and hospitalization.
Do You Really Need to Write a Directive?
Hiring an attorney and writing a directive with your loved ones can be difficult and emotionally taxing. However, there are also numerous benefits of knowing that you will be cared for by someone you love and trust. Here are just a few of the advantages of drafting a mental health directive:
- The directive can list the treatments that you are comfortable with, as well as the ones you don’t want.
- Having someone advocate on your behalf can improve communication between your loved ones and physician(s).
- You are in complete control of having your wishes carried out.
- Since a directive outlines emergency plans, there will be little need for involuntary treatment or restraint.
Here at Kreisher Marshall & Associates, LLC, we strive to help clients in Bloomsburg and Columbia County. Our team has significant experience in the field of mental health law, and we would be more than happy to work with you and your loved one. Contact our elder law lawyers today at (570) 784-5211.