- 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.
Wyoming Q and A
Ten commonly asked questions about PAD’s for Wyoming
1. Can I write a legally-binding psychiatric advance directive (PAD)?
Yes. Wyoming’s statute allows you to appoint an agent to make decisions about your mental health treatment if you become incompetent to make decisions; to write instructions about how you would like your mental health care to proceed; or both. There is an optional prescribed PAD form in the statute.
2. Can I write advance instructions regarding psychiatric medications and/or hospitalization?
Yes. The statute says that you may state preferred treatment. You also have the right to refuse mental health treatment in your instructions.
3. Does anyone have to approve my advance instructions at the time I make them?
No. However, your advanced instructions must be contained in a written document. It is recommended that you use the standard forms. You must be legally competent at the time you make your advance instructions, which means that you are capable of providing informed consent to treatment. Your document must be signed and dated by you or someone directed by you, and by two adult witnesses.
4. Can I appoint an agent to make mental health decisions for me if I become incompetent?
Yes. A form for this purpose is included in the standard forms.
5. If I become incompetent, can my agent make decisions for me about medications, and/or hospitalization?
Yes, your agent may make decisions about mental health services that you would be able to make if you were competent to do so.
6. Does my agent have to make decisions as he/she thinks I would make them (known as “substituted judgment”), or does he/she have to make them in my “best interests”?
Your agent must exercise substituted judgment to the extent that he or she can do so, based on your advance instructions or on wishes you have otherwise expressed. If it is not possible to make a decision in that way, your agent must make the decision in your best interests.
7. Is there any rule that says that I can only make advanced instructions, only appoint an agent, or that I must do both?
No. You may do one, the other, or both.
8. Before following my PAD, would my mental health care providers need a court to determine I am not competent to make a certain decision?
9. Does the statute say anything about when my mental health providers may decline to follow my PAD?
10. How long does my PAD remain valid?
Your PAD remains valid as long as you do not revoke it. You may revoke it at any time you have not been declared incompetent. It is a good idea to review your documents regularly.