Advance Care Plans Are Crucial for Mentally Ill
Ironically enough, it’s the ones that need them most that by and large don’t have advance care directives in place. These significant plans usually encompass living wills; do-not-resuscitate orders; do-not-hospitalize orders; and restrictions on feeding tubes, medications or other treatments – enabling informed decisions about future treatment and designating a proxy to make those decisions when necessary.
A recent study of nursing home residents published in the January issue of the Psychiatric Services journal found “that 68 percent of residents with no mental illness had at least one of the four types of advance care plans, compared to 57 percent of residents with a serious mental illness such as bipolar disorder or a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia.”
Based on these findings, nursing home personnel should make a concerted effort to work with these patients to create advance care plans based on their preferences before it’s too late.