Advance Health Directives, helping inform trauma practices to eliminate restrictive interventions.

Mrs Hannah Harbinson1
1WAAMH, Perth, Australia


Currently, Advance Health Care Directives (AHCD) in psychiatric settings are an underutilised practice in Australia (excluding those states who engage Advance Statements), and this presentation aims to introduce it as an emerging practice to help eliminate restrictive interventions.


If a person is required to have compulsory mental health treatment, an AHCD is a way to record their treatment preferences, opinions and wishes in a way that all key stakeholders can access and understand. By extension, an advance health care directive can offer insight into a persons past and associated trauma’s which will help to tailor a holistic, creative, open and therapeutic service. Using AHCD a treating team can build a strength- based framework that is responsive to the impact of trauma, emphasising physical, psychological, and emotional safety for both service providers and survivors; and creates opportunities for survivors to rebuild a sense of control and empowerment. It is a safeguard for the consumer voice and helps to facilitate co-design practices into everyday clinical treatments to help eliminate restrictive interventions (Srebnik and La Fond, 1999).

Method and conclusion:

Presenters will outline the environment and culture that can exist in a mental health unit, posing clinical issues and how an AHCD can help to alleviate these issues by offering an innovative and quality method of service delivery. Presenters will explore the clear tension that can exist between consumer autonomy and duty of care which underpin many concerns (Atkinson, Garner, and Gilmour, 2004).


Hannah Harbinson has extensive experience working in consumer roles within the mental health sector both in VIC and WA. In that time, Hannah has worked as a Consumer Mental Health Advocate, Mental Health Team Facilitator and Peer Support Worker, Peer Coordinator, Lived Experience Trainer and Events and Training Officer. Currently Hannah is employed as a Sector Development Officer at the WA Association for Mental Health (WAAMH). Hannah is a committee of management member for the Victorian Women’s Mental Health Network and is passionate about consumer- centred advocacy, recovery and workforce development across diverse health service settings.


TERP focuses on identifying, avoiding and reducing harm across all environments in which the care of people with mental ill health is provided. TERP inforces Australia’s commitment to reduce the use of, and eliminate restrictive practices as a priority for action. Each jurisdiction, in conjunction with the Safety and Quality Partnership Standing Committee and the Commonwealth Government, works towards this vision by holding a series of forums providing an opportunity to learn and grow from local and national initiatives to eliminate restrictive practices and create a dialogue for future care.

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