Background: A psychiatric advance directive (PAD) is designed to prevent involuntary mental health interventions by enabling people with serious mental illnesses to plan ahead for their own treatment during a future incapacitating crisis. This study implemented PAD facilitation in assertive community treatment (ACT) teams.
Aims: We examined ACT clients' attitudes toward PAD facilitators, satisfaction with PAD facilitation, the short-term impact of PAD completion on subjective sense of empowerment and attitudes toward treatment, and whether the type of PAD facilitator made a difference.
Methods: Participants were randomly assigned to be offered PAD facilitation by a peer support specialist or non-peer ACT team clinician, and interviewed at baseline (n = 145) and post-facilitation 1-2-month follow-up (n = 116), to assess perceived consumer-directedness of PAD facilitation, empowerment and various treatment attitudes. Mean scores before and after the intervention were compared for PAD-completers, non-completers, and those who completed a PAD with a peer vs. non-peer. The effect of PAD completion was assessed using logistic and linear regression analysis.
Results: There was no evidence of bias against peer-facilitators. There was a modest positive impact of PAD facilitation on treatment attitudes and empowerment.
Conclusions: PAD facilitation by peer support specialists and others working in community mental health settings supports recovery.
Keywords: Assertive community treatment; empowerment; peer support specialist; psychiatric advance directive; recovery; serious mental illness; treatment attitudes; treatment relationships.