Items in AFP with MESH term: Mental Competency
ABSTRACT: Persons with mental retardation are living longer and integrating into their communities. Primary medical care of persons with mental retardation should involve continuity of care, maintenance of comprehensive treatment documentation, routine periodic health screening, and an understanding of the unique medical and behavioral disorders common to this population. Office visits can be successful if physicians familiarize patients with the office and staff, plan for difficult behaviors, and administer mild sedation when appropriate. Some syndromes that cause mental retardation have specific medical and behavioral features. Health issues in these patients include respiratory problems, gastrointestinal disorders, challenging behaviors, and neurologic conditions. Some commonly overlooked health concerns are sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, and end-of-life decisions.
ABSTRACT: Physicians assess the decision-making capacity of their patients at every clinical encounter. Patients with an abrupt change in mental status, who refuse recommended treatment, who consent too hastily to treatment or who have a known risk factor for impaired decision-making should be evaluated more carefully. In addition to performing a mental status examination (along with a physical examination and laboratory evaluation, if needed), four specific abilities should be assessed: the ability to understand information about treatment; the ability to appreciate how that information applies to their situation; the ability to reason with that information; and the ability to make a choice and express it. By using a directed clinical interview or a formal capacity assessment tool, primary care physicians are able to perform these evaluations in most cases.
Practical Considerations for Determining Patient Capacity and Consent - Curbside Consultation
Is This Patient Really Incompetent? - Curbside Consultation
ABSTRACT: Referring a patient to a neuropsychologist for evaluation provides a level of rigorous assessment of brain function that often cannot be obtained in other ways. The neuropsychologist integrates information from the patient’s medical history, laboratory tests, and imaging studies; an in-depth interview; collateral information from the family and other sources; and standardized assessment instruments to draw conclusions about diagnosis, prognosis, and response to therapy. Family physicians can use this information in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with depression, dementia, concussion, and similar conditions, as well as to address concerns about decision-making capacity. Certain assessment instruments, such as the Mini-Mental State Examination and Patient Health Questionnaire–9, are readily available and easily performed in a primary care office. Distinguishing among depression, dementia, and other conditions can be challenging, and consultation with a neuropsychologist at this level can be diagnostic and therapeutic. The neuropsychologist typically helps the patient, family, and primary care team by establishing decision-making capacity; determining driving safety; identifying traumatic brain injury deficits; distinguishing dementia from depression and other conditions; and detecting malingering. Neuropsychologists use a structured set of therapeutic activities to improve a patient’s ability to think, use judgment, and make decisions (cognitive rehabilitation). Repeat neuropsychological evaluation can be invaluable in monitoring progression and treatment effects.
An AIDS Patient's Right to Refuse Life-Sustaining Treatment - Curbside Consultation
Suspected Abuse in an Elderly Patient - Curbside Consultation
A Troubled Teen: Matters of Confidentiality - Curbside Consultation