Form 5 (British Columbia - Consent for Treatment [Involuntary Patient])

A Form 5 (Consent for Treatment), is a form under the British Columbia Mental Health Act that details the consent process for mental health treatment if a patient is involuntarily admitted on a Form 4 or Form 6. The Form 5 requires that either patient consent to treatment, or the director’s authorization (if the patient does not consent), be documented.

Download Form 5

  • If a patient has an involuntary admission (i.e. - a Form 4 or Form 6), completion of the Form 5 is not optional and is a legal requirement under the BC Mental Health Act!
  • Before any psychiatric medication can be administered against an individual's will or without their consent (unless it is an emergency situation), a Form 5 must be completed.
  • While Form 5 does not expire, a new Form 5 must be completed every time there is a significant change in

treatment, such as starting electroconvulsive therapy, clozapine initiation, initiation of restraints, or transfers to a new designated facility.

Voluntary Patients?

For voluntary persons admitted under the MHA (i.e. - no Form 4 or Form 6), their consent is of course still always required before any treatment can be provided. However, this discussion should be documented in their chart instead of a Form 5 (since a Form 5 is not applicable in the case of a voluntary admission).

The Form 5 serves several important functions:

  1. If a patient accepts and consents to treatment, the Form 5 provides the space to document the course of treatment a patient has consented, and the time and date that consent was provided. Documenting a patient’s consent to treatment is particularly important in the context of an involuntary admission, because legally, the patient has actually been deprived of their right to refuse it.
  2. Alternatively, If a patient refuses to consent or is unable to consent, the Form 5 requires the prescribing physician to obtain the hospital director’s authorization to proceed with the proposed treatment. Under the BC Mental Health Act, the director is ultimately responsible for ensuring the patient receives treatment appropriate to their condition. Proper documentation on the Form 5 is particularly important for patients who initially on admission may have been incapable of appreciating illness or treatment but later regain some capacity.
  3. Finally, the Form 5 is an essential part of the medical-legal record for patients exercise their right to seek a second medical opinion on the appropriateness of the treatment prescribed by the patient's physician and authorized by the director.
  • Under the MHA, a person maintains the right to refuse medical (i.e. - non-psychiatric interventions/treatment).
    • Consent to non-psychiatric treatment is not covered by the MHA and should not be dealt with in a Form 5.
  • Staff may provide medical treatment on a voluntary basis, but must otherwise rely on the Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act (HCCCFA) if they determine the patient is not capable of consenting to medical treatment.

Who Can Consent to Which Treatments for an Involuntary Patient?

Adapted from: Ombudsperson's Special Report No. 42, Committed to Change: Protecting the Rights of Involuntary Patients under the Mental Health Act, p 47.
Psychiatric Treatment Medical Treatment
Incapable Director under the Mental Health Act using Form 5 (Part B) Substitute decision maker (SDM) under the Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act
Capable Patient using Form 5 (Part A) [assuming patient is involuntarily admitted, but capable] Patient
  • A Form 5 should clearly document the authorized treatment such that the patient can make an informed decision as to whether to request a second opinion (Form 11). If a patient decides to exercise this right, the Form 5 shows the second opinion physician what treatment the director has authorized.
  • A Form 5 can be completed and signed by a Director or designate.
    • Who this individual is depends on the each hospital (i.e. - sometimes can be a physician, lead nurse, or other hospital administrator)
  • If there is a significant change in a treatment (i.e. - using a different class of medications), a new Form 5 must be completed.
  • The description of the treatment proposed by the physician should be of sufficient detail, and specifically that the physician has set out the nature of the patient’s mental health diagnosis, nature of the condition, options for treatment, the reasons for and the likely benefits and risks of the proposed treatment for the patient.
  • It should also be sufficiently descriptive (for example, it should include details of the medication class and psychotherapy type, but it is not necessary to list individual medications).[1]
  • There is a Part A and Part B to the Form 5, and only one part (either A or B) should be filled out.
    • Part A is filled out if the patient is involuntarily admitted, but capable to consent to treatment.
    • Part B is filled out if the patient is involuntarily admitted, but also incapable to consent to treatment.
  • Practically speaking, Part A is not commonly filled out, as it is rare for a patient to be involuntarily admitted and also capable (usually found incapable).
  • Who exactly is the “Director,” and what is a “director’s authorization”?
    • In practice, the person signing the form is often the nurse in charge at the facility.