Informed consent in psychotic decompensation
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.
Keywords: informed consent, psychotic decompensation, psychiatric treatment, autonomy, COVID-19.
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