Geriatric Mental Health Services

Geriatric Guide - Appendix 5: Psychiatric Advance Directive

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Appendix 5: Psychiatric Advance Directive

If you are concerned that you may be subject to involuntary psychiatric commitment or treatment at some future time, you can prepare a legal document in advance to express your choices about treatment. The document is called an advance directive for mental health decision making.

What are the advantages of a psychiatric advance directive?

If you expect to need mental health treatment in the future and believe that you might be found incompetent to make your decisions at that time:

  • An advance directive empowers you to make your treatment preferences known.

  • An advance directive will improve communication between you and your physician. It can prevent clashes with professionals over treatment and may prevent forced treatment.

  • Having an advance directive may shorten your hospital stay.

Where can I get legal advice about advance directives in Maine?

  • Disability Rights Center (DRC) – 1-800-452-1948
    DRC is Maine’s protection and advocacy agency for people with disabilities. It is a non-profit agency, independent of state and federal government.

  • Legal Services for the Elderly – 1-800-750-5353
    Provides free, high quality legal assistance to socially and economically needy Maine residents age 60 and older.

  • Long Term Care Ombudsman Program – 1-800-499-0229
    A Swedish word, Ombudsman (pronounced om-budz-man) is a specially trained advocate who is given authority under federal and Maine law to investigate and resolve complaints made by, or on behalf of, long-term care consumers.

  • Pine Tree Legal Assistance – Augusta, 622-4731
    Non-profit corporation providing legal assistance to people in the State of Maine whose income is one hundred twenty-five percent of the federal income poverty guidelines or less.