- A psychiatric advance directive (PAD) is a legal document that documents a person’s preferences for future mental health treatment, and allows appointment of a health proxy to interpret those preferences during a crisis.
- PADs may be drafted when a person is well enough to consider preferences for future mental health treatment.
- PADs are used when a person becomes unable to make decisions during a mental health crisis.
State by State Information
Psychiatric advance directives are relatively new legal instruments that may be used to document a competent person’s specific instructions or preferences regarding future mental health treatment. Psychiatric advance directives can be used to plan for the possibility that someone may lose capacity to give or withhold informed consent to treatment during acute episodes of psychiatric illness.