All of these are good questions posed by the CAPAPGPC conference last year. I missed it but will weigh in anyways.
Can an LPS Conservatee request a different doctor?
This is a very interesting question because the conservatorship does strip the conservatee of the right to enter contracts and make medical decisions on their own behalf. However, choosing a doctor does bring up the gray area of medical decisions and contract. In order to choose a new doctor a patient does need to sign paperwork consenting to treatment by that provider. However, it is loosely related to treatment relating remedying their grave disability. However, it does not entail medication or placement services which is what LPS non explicitly addresses. The conservatee should also have the right to dismiss a bad provider without necessitating a conservator's provider. There are lot of poor doctors out there I promise you. Should the conservatee be given the right to change their own doctor but have to adhere to that new doctor's medical recommendations?
Can an LPS Conservatee request changes in treatment?
This should be a must. The conservatee no matter what their mental status should bear the right to at least make suggestions to the care team. The conservator after all is not living in their body. There is no harm in asking. The conservatee can still make any request but the doctor and the conservator can all overrule their request if it is outlandish.
Can an LPS Conservator deny visitors? Can an LPS Conservator deny phone calls?
I actually have an answer! The conservatee does retain the right to have visitors. It is stipulated in the patients rights handbook that every patient should receive upon admission. The rights mandate that the conservatee not be isolated. In San Diego, the conservatee does have visitors. The main time the conservator restricts the conservatee from seeing any particular person is when the conservatee is agitated by the visitor's presence. Or if the person is slipping the conservatee contraband items such as drugs or weapons. Otherwise the conservatee is granted time to have visitors most every day.
Can an LPS Conservator deny the LPS Conservatee’s access to records?
Really good question. Medical records are not going to change the conservatee's course of treatment. The conservatee will not suddenly gain the right to stop treatment just by seeing their records. It is important that the conservatee see what they have been diagnosed with and understand their treatment plan. Too often the doctors will write down stuff in front of the conservatee without informing them of what is going in their record. It is not the doctor's record is it? It is the CONSERVATEE'S medical records. Therefore they should have the right to request and review their records. I have also seen incorrect restatement of facts on my medical records. The conservatee should have the right to at least object to false statements. Even if the conservatee is delusional it should not preclude them from being able to read their own records.
That is all for today folks. Stay tuned.
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