Autonomy in Jeopardy

Contrasting Participatory Health Models With Patient Decision Making Under Mental Health Law

Cath E. Roper; Vrinda Edan


J Participat Med. 2011;3 

In This Article


Recognizing that loss of patient autonomy under MHL is ethically serious is the right place to start, but important questions remain: how competent are we at providing the contexts in which all people can be supported to make their own health care decisions? Can laws, social institutions, health services, and providers develop the necessary conditions for free and voluntary health care decision making for all persons? The freedom to make our own health care decisions should not merely depend upon whether or not individuals are competent to do so. To have an overarching focus on creating decision-making opportunities for all adult patients must be an ethical imperative. More empirical and theoretical ethical research is urgently needed to inform the development of such policies, environments, and practices that would affirm autonomy in the lives of people governed by MHL.