Capacity, consent, and mental health legislation: time for a new standard?
Recent international reforms in mental health legislation have introduced a capacity test as a criterion for civil commitment. There are proposals that a common test of incapacity should apply in both mental and physical health under a single legislative framework for all cases in which the normally accepted standard of informed consent for treatment is not met. Capacity is a complex concept, but can be reliably assessed in clinical practice. Nurses need to be involved in the policy debate about capacity and consent in mental health care.
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