AGE contribution to CoE Committee on Bioethics Consultation on Involuntary Treatment and Placement for people with mental disorders

The Council of Europe (CoE) Committee on Bioethics has decided to draft an Additional Protocol to the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, concerning the protection of the human rights and dignity of persons with mental disorders with regard to involuntary placement and involuntary treatment. AGE’s answer to their consultation focuses on the rights and challenges of involuntary treatment and placement of older persons with age-related mental disorders, in particular those with dementia. Our contribution refers to the exercise of rights, monitoring procedures and emergency situations, highlighting the specific situation of older persons not able to consent.

For AGE the following principles should be integrated in the protocol:

– Presumption of capacity, unless proved otherwise on a case-by-case basis ;

– The best interest of the adult;

– Right for individuals to be supported to make their own decisions – people must be given all appropriate help before anyone concludes that they cannot make their own decisions ;

– Take account of the individual’s wishes, so far as these can be ascertained;

– Restrict the person’s freedom as little as possible while still achieving the desired benefit; and

– Encourage the patient to exercise residual capacity.

You may read AGE’s full response here.

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