We Need to Encourage People to Make Advance Directives


In this piece for STAT, Jennifer Adaeze Okwerekwu describes the value of psychiatric advance directives for those at risk of experiencing an emotional crisis.

“‘It’s something that can help patients preserve their autonomy, it can help family members take care of their family members, and it can help providers facilitate care,’ Swartz said.

This is exactly why Charlene Lee, of Carrboro, N.C., put one together.

Lee told me she has a PAD because of a hospital visit that left her feeling powerless — she has bipolar disorder. After a particularly tough episode, she stopped communicating with her friends and family, and they called police for a safety check. She was hospitalized, and given benzodiazepines, a class of medications she would have normally denied.

‘That decision was made for me,’ said Lee. ‘I really wasn’t in a frame of mind to say no.'”