Informed consent in psychotic decompensation

Informed consent in psychotic decompensation
Matea Podgornjak, Lea Hrvat Matić, Anita Stanišić, Ena Gutić, Igor Salopek
European Journal of Bioethics, 20 February 2023
The consent of an informed patient is not merely a signature on a legally binding document,  but rather a process in which the patient is empowered and becomes an active ally in a treatment. Valid informed consent includes adequate information that is given to the patient in an appropriate manner, the voluntariness of consent, and the patient’s ability to make a decision regarding treatment. Meeting these conditions when treating patients with mental health disorders can be challenging. Mental disorders can compromise a person’s ability to understand relevant information about the nature of their illness as well as their ability to make decisions regarding treatment. However, a psychiatric diagnosis does not imply that a person is unable to make a decision regarding their treatment, nor does it exclude them as an equal partner in the therapeutic process. By reviewing the case of a 39-year-old patient who developed an acute psychotic disorder during the treatment of COVID pneumonia, we dive into the ethical dilemmas that arise when approaching a patient who is experiencing psychotic decompensation.

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