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Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría

Print version ISSN 0034-7450


HERAZO, Edwin. Bioethical Aspects in the Evaluation of Mental Capacity in Psychiatry. rev.colomb.psiquiatr. [online]. 2011, vol.40, n.1, pp.152-163. ISSN 0034-7450.

Introduction: Mental capacity is understood as a multidimensional construct that alludes to the capacity of individuals of making autonomous decisions. Mental competency is the ability to perform a task and the ability of a person to act or behave appropriately in certain circumstances, with a clear reference to legal aspects. However, there is a tendency to assimilate both concepts. Objective: To show how mental capacity can be evaluated in a structured way avoiding inadequate assessments, violations of patients' human rights, and the generation of a bioethical dilemma when the principle of beneficence is given more relevance than the principle of autonomy. Method: Various instruments that allow a valid and trustworthy evaluation of mental capacity are reviewed. It is convenient that physicians train in their application and interpretation of results. Conclusion: More studies on the subject are required in Latin America.

Keywords : Mental competency; mental capacity; decision making; bioethics; human rights; review.

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