Psychiatric Advance Directives

Does your doctor have to follow your psychiatric advance directive?

If your psychiatric advance directive meets applicable state requirements, it is considered legally enforceable.

Whether legally enforceable or not, your doctor may want to follow your advance directive simply because it helps him or her treat you most effectively. However, there are some cases when the health care professional and staff may not be legally required to follow your advance directive or may override your wishes for other reasons.

For example, depending on your condition, there may be times when it is not possible to follow your psychiatric advance directive. Medical providers must always defer to your state’s standards of medical care to provide the care you need, and your document may be overridden if the instructions require unavailable treatment or endanger the life or health of you or another person.