2018 Alaska Statutes
Title 47. Welfare, Social Services, and Institutions
Chapter 30. Mental Health
Article 10. Patient Rights.
Sec. 47.30.837. Informed consent.

Universal Citation: AK Stat § 47.30.837 (2018)

(a) A patient has the capacity to give informed consent for purposes of AS 47.30.836 if the patient is competent to make mental health or medical treatment decisions and the consent is voluntary and informed.

(b) When seeking a patient's informed consent under this section, the evaluation facility or designated treatment facility shall give the patient information that is necessary for informed consent in a manner that ensures maximum possible comprehension by the patient.

(c) If an evaluation facility or designated treatment facility has provided to the patient the information necessary for the patient's consent to be informed and the patient voluntarily consents, the facility may administer psychotropic medication to the patient unless the facility has reason to believe that the patient is not competent to make medical or mental health treatment decisions. If the facility has reason to believe that the patient is not competent to make medical or mental health treatment decisions and the facility wishes to administer psychotropic medication to the patient, the facility shall follow the procedures of AS 47.30.839.

(d) In this section,

(1) “competent” means that the patient

(A) has the capacity to assimilate relevant facts and to appreciate and understand the patient's situation with regard to those facts, including the information described in (2) of this subsection;

(B) appreciates that the patient has a mental disorder or impairment, if the evidence so indicates; denial of a significantly disabling disorder or impairment, when faced with substantial evidence of its existence, constitutes evidence that the patient lacks the capability to make mental health treatment decisions;

(C) has the capacity to participate in treatment decisions by means of a rational thought process; and

(D) is able to articulate reasonable objections to using the offered medication;

(2) “informed” means that the evaluation facility or designated treatment facility has given the patient all information that is material to the patient's decision to give or withhold consent, including

(A) an explanation of the patient's diagnosis and prognosis, or their predominant symptoms, with and without the medication;

(B) information about the proposed medication, its purpose, the method of its administration, the recommended ranges of dosages, possible side effects and benefits, ways to treat side effects, and risks of other conditions, such as tardive dyskinesia;

(C) a review of the patient's history, including medication history and previous side effects from medication;

(D) an explanation of interactions with other drugs, including over-the-counter drugs, street drugs, and alcohol;

(E) information about alternative treatments and their risks, side effects, and benefits, including the risks of nontreatment; and

(F) a statement describing the patient's right to give or withhold consent to the administration of psychotropic medications in nonemergency situations, the procedure for withdrawing consent, and notification that a court may override the patient's refusal;

(3) “voluntary” means having genuine freedom of choice; a choice may be encouraged and remain voluntary, but consent obtained by using force, threats, or direct or indirect coercion is not voluntary.

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