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עמוד בית
Thu, 18.04.24

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March 2014
Tal Bergman-Levy, Jeremia Heinik and Yuval Melamed
Testamentary capacity refers to an individual's capability to write his or her own will. Psychiatrists are required occasionally to give expert opinions regarding the testamentary capacity of individuals with a medical history or suspected diagnosis of a mental illness. This may stem from the patient/lawyer/family initiative to explore the current capacity to testate in anticipation of a possible challenge, or may be sought when testamentary capacity of a deceased has been challenged. In this article we examine the medico-legal construct of testamentary capacity of the schizophrenic patient, and discuss the various clinical situations specific to schizophrenic patients, highlighting their impact on the medical opinion regarding testamentary capacity through examining the rulings of the Israeli Supreme Court in a specific case where the testamentary capacity of a mentally ill individual who was challenged postmortem, and provide a workable framework for the physician to evaluate the capacity of a schizophrenia patient to write a will.

May 2003
J. Heinik, I. Solomesh and P. Berkman

Background: Training in geriatric psychiatry constitutes a fundamental element toward further development of this relatively new branch of medicine. However, it varies both in quantity and quality among different countries, healthcare providers and medical schools.

Objectives: To describe the demographic and professional characteristics of participants in postgraduate diploma courses in geriatric psychiatry, and the perceived contribution of the courses; and to compare these variables among the participants in 1 year and 3 year courses, and between psychiatrists and non-psychiatrists.

Methods: A retrospective self-administered questionnaire was mailed to the 153 physicians who participated in the two courses. The 60 questionnaires completed and returned were analyzed.

Results: Participants in the courses constituted a heterogenous group in terms of demographic and professional characteristics, with no differences between 1 year and 3 year course participants, or between psychiatrists vs. non-psychiatrists (with the exception of more involvement of non-psychiatrists and 1 year course participants in old-age homes). Most responders indicated both the theoretical and practical benefits and application to daily practice of the material learned. Similarly, most responders indicated that after the courses they definitely used general assessment scales to a much greater extent, particularly cognitive scales, as well as operational diagnostic criteria for dementia. Participants in the 3 year course reported more significant use of assessment scales compared with 1 year participants, and 3 year participants and psychiatrists used the cognitive scales more often. There were no other significant differences between 1 year and 3 year participants and between psychiatrists’ and non-psychiatrists’ reports regarding general and more specific contributions of the courses.

Conclusion: Postgraduate diploma courses in geriatric psychiatry seem to have a favorable effect on participants, irrespective of course duration or specialty. However, course duration positively influenced the implementation of assessment scales in general, and cognitive scales in particular. A prospective comparative study on this subject is warranted, with stricter definitions of participants’ pre-course and post-course background, attitudes, knowledge and benefits.

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