This study explores the attitude of German psychiatrists in leading positions towards joint crisis plans and psychiatric advance directives. This topic was examined by contacting 473 medical directors of German psychiatric hospitals and departments. They were asked to complete a questionnaire developed by us. That form contained questions about the incidence and acceptance of joint crisis plans and psychiatric advance directives and previous experiences with them. 108 medical directors of psychiatric hospitals and departments responded (response rate: 22.8%). Their answers demonstrate that in their hospitals these documents are rarely used. Among the respondents, joint crisis plans are more accepted than psychiatric advance directives. There is a certain uncertainty when dealing with these instruments. Our main conclusion is that German psychiatry needs an intensified discussion on the use of instruments for patients to constitute procedures for future critical psychiatric events. For this purpose it will be helpful to collect more empirical data. Furthermore, the proposal of joint crisis plans in psychiatric hospitals and departments should be discussed as well as the possibility of consulting an expert during the preparation of a psychiatric advance directive.
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