Promoting and hindering factors in the use of advance statements by Australian mental health clinicians

Russell James, Phil Maude, Adam Searby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


What Is Known on the Subject?: Australia is a commonwealth of federated states and territories with each having unique mental health legislation. Victoria implemented advance statements based on legislation from overseas jurisdictions such as Scotland. The aim of this Victorian legislation was to underpin an individual's autonomy and decision-making in relation to treatment, particularly compulsory treatment. Advance statements allow individuals within the healthcare setting to document preferences for care and treatment during times of decompensated mental health, including informing nominated persons and preferences for recovery-oriented care; however, advance statements continue to attract barriers in their implementation and use. What this Study Adds to Existing Knowledge?: This paper focuses on legislation within one jurisdiction, Victoria, highlighting that several barriers to uptake exist, including uncertainty around the legal status of advance statements, the ideal setting to implement advance statements and concern around perceived consumer capacity to contribute to developing advance statements. There are substantial differences of opinion regarding adherence to treatment and recovery preferences contained within the advance statement, especially when decisions are made in the context of decompensated mental health. The Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) model has been used to formulate recommendations in several other health studies, but to date has not been used to provide recommendations for greater implementation of advance statements. Implementation science is a contemporary research translation movement that seeks to identify factors and strategies that influence the adoption and integration of interventions like advance statements in real world settings. For this study it has been useful to identify barriers, consider implementation strategies and link this with policy frameworks to support practice change. What are the Implications for Practice?: Our study revealed that real challenges exist for mental health clinicians in adopting advance statements despite them having a strong held intention to empower service users to play a greater role in their own treatment and care decisions. The facilitators identified in this study highlight the notion that advance statements, and the concept of supported decision-making are needed in contemporary mental health care. Implementation science can assist in identifying barriers and suggesting facilitators including enhanced training, incentivization of advance statement creation, and greater awareness of the overarching purpose and principle of advance statement creation. Continued support and training in implementing and maintaining advance statements is required if mental health clinicians are to drive the uptake of this important reform to mental health legislation. Training needs to be provided that will address attitudes, and strongly held beliefs that pose barriers to the use of advance statements. Abstract: Introduction: Advance statements, also known as advance directives or psychiatric wills, provide individuals the opportunity to document care and recovery preferences during a period of mental ill health. Although the use of advance statements has gained momentum, little research has explored the factors that promote or hinder further uptake. Aim: To determine the factors that promote or hinder the uptake of advance statements. Method: Cross-sectional online survey of healthcare workers (n = 190). Results: Promoting factors include high perceived value of advance statements, particularly their role in recovery focussed care, while hindering factors include disagreement or responsibility for advance statement creation and legal status. Discussion: This study indicates that several hindering factors or barriers to advance statement uptake remain, and until these factors are addressed future implementation is arguably hindered. In this paper, we have used the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) model to outline suggestions to address hindering factors to implementation and guide future implementation strategies for advance statement uptake and practice change. Implications for Practice: The ongoing uptake of advance statements requires tailored implementation strategies address hindering factors. Strong promoting factors, such as the shared belief in the advance statement model and its role in recovery focused care, should be considered a strong foundation for implementation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)743-760
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • advance directives
  • advance planning
  • advance statements
  • clinicians
  • mental health
  • psychiatric wills

Cite this