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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 48 (2006) 11, 867 - 872


Dilemmas in mental health care. A quantitative approach

E.P. Veening

An imaginary but realistic scenario is presented in order to stimulate thought and discussion about ethical dilemmas faced by those responsible for psychiatric cases. The method is designed to achieve greater consistency in two areas: in professional discussions of ethical problems and in public accountability for these problems. It is proposed in this paper that arguments for and against intervention can be evaluated by attributing to each argument a 'telo' and/or 'delo' value, depending on the possible consequences of intervention and the degree to which intervention would infringe or safeguard the rights of the individual concerned. The main purpose of the proposed method is to 'objectify' existing intuitive ideas and personal views for the purpose of arriving at a balanced quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the decisions that are often required in psychiatric care.


keywords dilemmas, intervention, mental health care, quantitative, rights