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Psychiatr Serv. 2008 Jan;59(1):63-71. doi: 10.1176/ps.2008.59.1.63.

A typology of advance statements in mental health care.

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Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Centers, Bronx, NY 10468, USA.


Advance statements documenting mental health service consumers' preferences for treatment during a future mental health crisis or period of incapacity have gained currency in recent years in the United States and some European countries. Several kinds of advance statements have emerged -- some as legal instruments, others as treatment planning methods -- but no formal comparison has been made among them. This article reviews the literature in English and German to develop a comparative typology of advance statements: joint crisis plans, crisis cards, treatment plans, wellness recovery action plans, and psychiatric advance directives (with and without formal facilitation). The features that distinguish them are the extent to which they are legally binding, whether health care providers are involved in their production, and whether an independent facilitator assists in their production. The differing nature of advance statements is related to the diverse models of care upon which they are based and the legislative and service contexts in which they have been developed. However, there is recent convergence between the United Kingdom and the United States with respect to research interventions that facilitate the production of advance statements, as evidence emerges for the effectiveness of facilitated psychiatric advance directives and joint crisis plans. Different types of advance statements can coexist and in some cases may interact in complementary ways. However, the relationship of advance statements to involuntary treatment is more problematic, as is their effective implementation in many mental health service settings.

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