Online Program

Examining the Ethics of Informed Consent in Housing Services Models for Homeless Adults with Dual Diagnosis

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Bikki Tran Smith, MA, MSW, School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
The process of informed consent within mental health treatment and services has been controversial. There has often been a tension between the autonomy and preferences of the consumer and the clinical judgment of the practitioner on what is in the best (mental health) interest of the client, and whether the consumer has the decisional capacity to make an informed choice about treatment and/or services. The ethics underlying the informed consent process becomes further complicated when looking at mental health treatment that is coupled with social services, such as the case with housing programs for homeless adults with serious mental illness. As such, this paper examines the process of informed consent – focusing specifically on the elements of competence and voluntariness - within two different models of housing services – housing first (HF) and treatment-contingent housing (TCH)– to highlight how these models either facilitate or present a barrier to voluntariness in treatment decisions based on their implicit assumptions of client capacity. Implications for increasing consumer choice in deciding on the receipt or refusal of such services are discussed.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Ethics, professional and legal requirements

Learning Objectives:
Define informed consent Explain the components of informed consent Analyze the process of informed consent in mental health and housing services

Keyword(s): Ethics, Social Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a project director on a federally funded grant focusing on recovery among formerly homeless adults with a dual diagnosis. This study compares two different housing models and how they either facilitate or inhibit recovery. Additionally, I have also been a researcher on a project focused on housing services and mental health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.