When a person is deemed mentally ill or dangerous to the rest of the community, police and licensed mental health professionals could authorize that the individual is baker acted.
Under the Florida Baker Act, Section 32.03 states that patients have the nine fundamental rights to receive adequate treatment; have individual dignity; express their informed consent; report any abuse, visitation, and communicate; receive quality treatment, vote in public elections; have custody and care of their personal things; participate in their discharge or treatment planning; and petition for their habeas corpus.
What’s the limitation of accepting visitations?
Patients who have been involuntary or voluntarily admitted because of the Baker Act have the right to communicate freely or privately with an individual outside the facility unless the visitation is likely to be harmful to the patient’s well-being or the others around them.
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Patients could also have access to telephones, along with sending, receiving, or mailing sealed correspondence.
The only thing that the facility could manage is to open, hold, delay, or censor the mails if they have a valid ground to believe that it includes substances or items that could potentially be dangerous for the patients and other people.
If the facility has restricted the communication of the patient, a written notice must be provided that’ll be included in the patient’s medical records.
Additionally, the facility is under the obligation to review the restriction every seven days. The facility should never bar the patient from communicating through telephone for reporting any kind of abuse they’ve suffered.
Furthermore, the telephone should allow the patient to make free local calls, access long-distance call services as soon as possible, and be readily accessible for the individual in an area that would uphold confidentiality.
The facility should give immediate permission to the patient’s family members, guardian, representative, guardian advocate, local advocacy or Florida statewide council, and attorney to visit the individual. This is subject to the patient’s refusal or withdrawal of consent at any time, as long as it won’t interfere or become detrimental to the patient’s well-being.
Reasonable hours of visitation and governing rules for visitors should be made in the least restrictive ways possible. And the facility should always grant communication between the patient and their attorneys.
Other efforts are being embraced to protect these rights.
Aside from these laws, the facility is also responsible for exerting efforts in writing a detailed plan of the treatment not later than five days since the patient has been admitted before presenting it to the individual for review.
The patient should be given a chance to assist and comment on the desired treatment plan before its implementation. If you want these wishes to be honored, the patient is free to complete a Mental Health Advance Directive Form from the Department of Children and Families.
Meanwhile, a regulation was passed that before giving away the patient’s informed consent, the facility staff should first explain the details in a manner that the admitted person could simply understand.
If the patient was a minor or deemed incapacitated, the legal guardian or advocate of the patient should be made aware of the reason for admission, the proposed treatment plan’s purpose and procedure, common risks; its benefits; potential side effects; and alternative treatment methods.
Along with this, the staff would explain the estimated timeframe for care, possible results of halting the treatment, how treatment would be monitored, and that the consent could be withdrawn in written or oral form prior to or during the patient’s treatment—an individual or person that is legally authorized to make decisions on their behalf will receive the consent.
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