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Important Things To Know If A Loved One Needs Inpatient Psychiatric Treatment

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If you suddenly realize that a loved one is in need of inpatient psychiatric treatment, it can be scary. Not only are you concerned about the mental state of him or her, you are also worried about how things work at these types of facilities. If it is at all possible, you should be the one to admit the patient instead of having it court ordered or having them end up there as a result of police or medical intervention. To make the whole process smoother, here are some important facts you need to know.


In a physical medical situation, the patient must give consent for treatment (in the case of a minor, a parent or guardian must give consent). However, when it is a mental problem, the issue of consent is not so black and white. While the patient has the right to be informed of the treatments to be used, and can request an alternative one, the final decision may not be up to him or her. This is especially true if there is concern about the patient's competency to make decisions. You need to be given consent to have the patient's situation discussed with you. Even if the patient is a minor, you may need to have the consent of the court to act on his or her behalf. Get any consent in writing. If you will be admitting the patient, stop by a lawyer's office first and ask about having the paperwork drawn up and signed.

Communication with the Patient

Both the patient and the hospital have the right to deny you communication or visitation. In general, the hospital will only do this if it feels that by communicating or visiting with you, it will hinder the treatment progress or even cause a traumatic outbreak that may result in injury to someone. The patient may deny you for any reason, even if there has already been consent paperwork signed. There is no way to make a patient allow you to come see them or even talk with them on the phone. In this case, you will have to keep abreast of the situation by talking with the hospital personnel. However, due to confidentiality laws, without prior consent and a power of attorney, you will not be given any information.

You probably have the patient's best interests at heart and will suffer emotionally if you are kept away with no communication at all. For this reason, you need to have an attorney and consent signed before the person is admitted. If you do not, you may be able to take the situation to court, but be prepared to wait until the case can be resolved.

For more information, contact local professionals like Park Center Inc.