Jail Administrators' Perceptions of the Use of Psychiatric Advance Directives in Jails
Scheyett, Anna M
Vaughn, Jennifer S
Francis, Annie M
Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.) 2010 Apr ; 61(4): 409-11
OBJECTIVE: Individuals with serious mental illnesses are at high risk of incarceration. Jails are often unable to obtain information needed to provide appropriate care. Psychiatric advance directives may be useful tools to communicate treatment information to jails. This study explored their use as a novel intervention for individuals with mental illnesses in jails. METHODS: Eighty jail administrators in North Carolina were surveyed to determine their support for psychiatric advance directives in jails. Relationships between respondents' job type (jail administrator or medical administrator) or jail census and support for the directives were examined by using chi square tests. Open-ended responses were analyzed using qualitative methods. RESULTS: Seventy-three percent of respondents indicated they supported psychiatric advance directives. Respondents from jails at or below a median census of 120 were significantly more likely to support psychiatric advance directives than those from larger jails. CONCLUSIONS: Psychiatric advance directives' informational function may prove valuable in jail settings. Additional research assessing directives as interventions for individuals with mental illnesses at risk of incarceration is needed.
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