Health professionals' experience of treatment of patients whose community treatment order was revoked under new capacity-based mental health legislation in Norway: qualitative study
AuthorWergeland, Nina Camilla; Fause, Åshild; Fause, Anett Beatrix Osnes; Riley, Henriette; Weber, Astrid Karine
Background Norway introduced capacity-based legislation in mental healthcare on 1 September 2017 with the aim of increasing patient autonomy and legal protection and reducing the use of coercion. The new legislation was expected to be particularly important for patients under community treatment orders (CTOs).
Aims To explore health professionals’ experiences of how capacity-based legislation affects healthcare services for patients whose compulsory treatment order was revoked as a result of being assessed as having capacity to consent.
Method Nine health professionals responsible for treatment and care of patients whose CTO was revoked owing to the new legislation were interviewed in depth from September 2019 to March 2020. We used a hermeneutic approach to the interviews and analysis of the transcripts.
Results The participants found that capacity-based legislation raised their awareness of their responsibility for patient autonomy and involvement in treatment and care. They also felt a need for more frequent assessments of patients’ condition and capacity to consent and more flexibility between levels of care.
Conclusions The study shows that health professionals found that capacity-based legislation raised their awareness of their responsibility for patient autonomy and involvement in treatment and care. They sought closer dialogue with patients, providing information and advice, and more frequently assessing patients’ condition to adjust treatment and care to enable them to retain their capacity to consent. This could be challenging and required competence, continuity and close collaboration between personnel in different healthcare services at primary and specialist level.