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Chapter 9: Legal and Ethical Issues

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1 Chapter 9: Legal and Ethical Issues

2 Mental health clients with all civil rights afforded to all people
Rights of Clients Mental health clients with all civil rights afforded to all people Except right to leave hospital in case of involuntary commitment Principles for Provision of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Services (American Psychiatric Association [APA]) As mental health client’s bill of rights (Box 9.1)

3 Involuntary Hospitalization
Civil commitment Laws determined by each state Knowledge of laws of state of practice necessary Persons held without consent presenting with imminent danger to self or others Proven at hearing if person is to be committed

4 Involuntary Hospitalization (cont’d)
Detention in facility for 48 to 72 hours on emergency basis Then hearing to determine possible commitment to facility

5 Release from the Hospital
Voluntary hospitalization: right to request discharge at any time Release unless danger to self or others; if such danger present, then commitment proceedings instituted Clients no longer dangerous discharged from hospital

6 Mandatory Outpatient Treatment
Conditional release or outpatient commitment Continued participation in treatment on involuntary basis after release from hospital into community Examples: taking prescribed medications, keeping appointments with health care providers for follow-up, attending specific treatment programs or groups

7 Legal guardianship; separate from civil commitment for hospitalization
Conservatorship Legal guardianship; separate from civil commitment for hospitalization Grave disability Incompetency Inability to provide self with food, clothing, shelter Inability to act in own best interests Consent to be obtained from conservator who speaks for client

8 Question Tell whether the following statement is true or false: Mental health clients who are hospitalized voluntarily give up their right to leave the hospital.

9 Answer False Mental health clients who are hospitalized voluntarily retain all the civil rights afforded to any person, including the right to leave the hospital. However, clients hospitalized involuntarily give up this right.

10 Least Restrictive Environment
Right to treatment in least restrictive environment appropriate to meet client’s needs Free of restraint or seclusion unless necessary Central philosophy to deinstitutionalization of large state hospitals, move to community- based care and services

11 Least Restrictive Environment (cont’d)
Restraint: application of physical force to person without permission Human Mechanical Seclusion: involuntary confinement in specially constructed, locked room equipped with security window or camera for direct visual monitoring Restraint/seclusion only for shortest time necessary

12 Least Restrictive Environment (cont’d)
Short term use of restraints and seclusion Face-to-face evaluation in 1 hour, every 8 hours (every 4 hours for children) Physician’s order every 4 hours (every 2 hours for children) Documented assessment by nurse every 1-2 hours Close supervision of client Debriefing session within 24 hours after release from seclusion or restraint

13 Confidentiality Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 Civil (fines) and criminal (prison sentences) penalties for violation of client privacy Duty to warn third parties: exception to client confidentiality

14 Insanity Defense Insanity Legal meaning but no medical definition
Person unable to control his or her actions or understand the difference between right and wrong at time of crime (M’Naghten rule)

15 Insanity Defense (cont’d)
Four states abolished insanity defense Thirteen states with ‘guilty, but insane’ verdict Argument that verdict absolves legal system of responsibility People do not always receive needed psychiatric treatment

16 Question Tell whether the following statement is true or false: A nurse is required to maintain client confidentiality unless the client threatens a specifically identified individual or group.

17 Answer True In cases where a client threatens an identifiable third party, the nurse has a duty to warn that third party.

18 Nursing Liability Responsibility for providing safe, competent, legal, ethical care

19 Nursing Liability (cont’d)
Meeting standards of care developed from: ANA’s Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements ANA’s Scope and Standards of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Practice State nurse practice acts/federal agency regulations Agency policies and procedures/job descriptions Civil, criminal laws

20 Torts Wrongful act resulting in injury, loss, damage
Unintentional torts Negligence Malpractice Elements to prove malpractice Duty Breach of duty Injury or damage Causation

21 3 elements to prove liability
Torts (cont’d) Intentional torts Assault Battery False imprisonment 3 elements to prove liability Willful voluntary act Intention to bring about consequences or injury Act as substantial factor in injury or consequences

22 Prevention of Liability

23 Question Which of the following would be considered an unintentional tort? Malpractice Assault Battery False imprisonment

24 Malpractice is an unintentional tort.
Answer Malpractice Malpractice is an unintentional tort. Assault, battery, and false imprisonment are intentional torts.

25 Ethical Issues Ethics: branch of philosophy dealing with values of human conduct (rightness and wrongness of actions) and goodness or badness of motives and ends of such actions Utilitarianism: theory that bases decisions on greatest good for greatest number Deontology: decisions based on whether action is morally right or wrong, with no regard for consequences

26 Deontological Principles
Autonomy: right to self-determination, independence Beneficence: duty to benefit others or promote good Nonmaleficence: requirement to do no harm Justice: fairness Veracity: honesty, truthfulness Fidelity: obligation to honor commitments, contracts

27 Ethical Dilemmas in Mental Health
Conflict of ethical principles No one clear course of action Many dilemmas in mental health involving client’s right to self-determination and independence (autonomy) and concern for ‘public good’ (utilitarianism) ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses guides choices about ethical actions

28 Ethical Decision-Making
Gathering information Clarifying values Identifying options Identifying legal considerations, practical restraints Building consensus for decision reached Reviewing, analyzing decision

29 Question Tell whether the following statement is true or false: The greatest good for the greatest number reflects the deontologic ethical theory.

30 Answer False Deontologic theory bases decisions on whether an action is morally right or wrong, without regard for the consequences. Utilitarianism bases decisions on the “greatest good for the greatest number.”

31 Self-Awareness Issues
Talk to colleagues or seek professional supervision Spend time thinking about ethical issues, determine your values and beliefs regarding situations before they occur Be willing to discuss ethical concerns with colleagues or managers

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