Mental Health Power of Attorney
In Pennsylvania individuals with mental illness can plan ahead for support and services by executing a Mental Health Power of Attorney. The document allows an individual to make important choices before they are unable to do so for themselves. Preparing the Mental Health Power of Attorney can foster autonomy and independence in decision making and may be a good way for an individual to discuss their preferences with family and caregivers.
In the document, the individual names an Agent or a personal to have decision making authority to act on the person’s behalf. The Mental Health Power of Attorney also allows the individual, called the Principal, to designate the following treatment preferences:
- Choice of facility – the Principal can indicate preferences for psychiatric treatment facilities as well as facilities where the Principal does not want to be admitted.
- Medications – the Principal can authorize the Agent to consent to the use of any medication or place restrictions on this authority.
- Use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) – the Principal can grant or restrict the Agent’s authority to authorize ECT.
- Experimental studies and drug trials- the Principal can grant or restrict the Agent’s authority to authorize participation in experimental studies and/or drug trials.
An individual who is at least 18 years of age or an emancipated minor and who has not been deemed incapacitated may execute the Mental Health Power of Attorney. The Mental Health Power of Attorney is valid for two years after the date it is executed unless revoked by the Principal.
If you have questions regarding a Mental Health Power of Attorney, please feel free to contact our office.