HOW MANY OF US KNOW ABOUT KENTUCKY’S ADVANCED DIRECTIVE FOR MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT?
Written by Jim Worthington on May 27, 2019
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. And, I suspect that few people know that the Kentucky Legislature has provided a form Advanced Directive for Mental Health Treatment in KRS 202A.430. The statute authorizing this form allows an adult to state preferences for:
- (a) Refusal of specific psychotropic medications, but not an entire class of psychotropic medications. This refusal may be due to factors that include but are not limited to their lack of efficacy, known drug sensitivity, or previous experience of adverse reactions;
- (b) Refusal of electric shock therapy (ECT);
- (c) Stated preferences for psychotropic medications;
- (d) Stated preferences for procedures for emergency interventions; and
- (e) Provision of information in any area specified by the grantor.
KRS 202A.422. It also allows the person signing the directive to name one or more surrogates to make decisions if he or she is not able to do so.
Hopefully, self-care and therapeutic support will avoid the need for this specialized directive. But, the episodic nature of mental illness means that persons with mental health conditions should click this embedded link to print out the form and talk with their provider about the choices to make.
This document doesn’t take the place of the more general-purpose health care directive everyone should have. The two directives need to work together, and the more general-purpose one should specifically defer to the mental health care directive to control mental health decisions. That should avoid any conflicts between the two documents, especially if they name different surrogates.