Patient Rights While in a Psychiatric Facility

  1. What are a patient’s rights concerning admission and discharge in a psychiatric facility? (NRS 433.471)
  • Patients have the right not to be admitted into a psychiatric facility under false pretenses.
  • Patients have the right to receive a copy of the criteria the facility uses to make decisions regarding admission and discharge, upon request.
  1. What are a patient’s rights concerning involuntary commitment? (NRS 433.472)
  • Patients have the right to request and receive a second evaluation by a psychiatrist or psychologist who does not have a financial interest in the psychiatric facility paid for by the patient or patient’s insurance.
  • Patients have the right to receive a copy of the facilities procedure regarding involuntary commitment and treatment.
  • Patients have a right to receive a list of their rights regarding involuntary commitment and treatment.
  1. What are a patient’s rights concerning care, treatment and training? (NRS 433.484)
  • All patients have the right to medical, psychosocial and rehabilitative care, treatment and training, including prompt and appropriate medical treatment and care.
  • Before instituting a plan of care, express and informed consent must be obtained in writing from the client, the guardian of a minor client or the legal guardian of a client adjudicated incompetent.
  • Patients have the right to be free of abuse, neglect and adverse interventions.
  • Patients in a psychiatric facility have the right to consent to transfer from one facility to another.
  1. What are a patient’s personal rights while in a psychiatric facility? NRS 433.482)
  • Patients have the right to wear his/her own clothing, to keep personal possessions (unless they may be used to endanger his/her or another’s life), and to keep and spend a reasonable sum of his/her own money.
  • Each patient has the right to have access to individual space for storage for personal property.
  • All patients have the right to see visitors daily.
  • Patients in a psychiatric facility have right to reasonable access to the telephone to make and receive confidential calls.
  • Patients have a right to ready access to materials for writing letters, including stamps and to receive and send unopened correspondences (not packages). However, correspondence containing checks payable to the client may be subject to safekeeping by the administrator, if the service plan indicates so.
  • If a patient is hearing impaired or does not speak English, he/she has the right to reasonable access to an interpreter.
  • Each patient has the right to designate a person to be kept informed by the facility of the patient’s condition by signing an Authorization to Release Information form.
  1. Do patients in a psychiatric facility have a right to an Individualized Plan of Service? (NRS 433.494)
  • All patients have the right to an individualized written plan of services (treatment plan), that must provide for the least restrictive treatment that may reasonably be expected to benefit the client.
  • The individualized plan of service must be current, modified when indicated and thoroughly reviewed at lease every three months.
  • The person in charge of implementing the plan of services must be designated in the plan.
  1. Who is responsible for providing medication to the patients? (NRS 433.514)
  • The attending psychiatrist or physician will be responsible for all medications given to the client.
  1. What are a patient’s rights’ regarding information about his/her treatment? (NRS 433.504)
  • Patients must be permitted to inspect his/her records.
  • Patients must be informed of his clinical status at reasonable intervals, no longer than three (3) months, in a manner appropriate to his/her clinical condition.
  • Patients are also entitled to a copy of their clinical records, unless a psychiatrist has made a specific note to the contrary in the records.
  1. What are the patients’ rights concerning the suspensions or violation of rights? (NRS 433.531).
  • All patients have the right to receive a list of rights as well as the right to receive a copy of the facility’s policy on the circumstances in which those rights may be suspended or violated.
  • A patient has the right to receive a list of clinically appropriate options available to the patient or the patient’s family to remedy an actual or a suspected suspension or violation of his/her rights.
  • A patient’s rights may be denied only when necessary to protect his/her health and safety or to protect the health and safety of others.
  1. Do patients have the right to legal counsel? (NRS 433A.270)
  • In any proceeding before a district court related to the involuntary court-ordered admission, the person alleged to have a mental illness has the right to counsel.
  1. Are patients allowed to be present and testify at hearings? (NRS 433A290)
  • In proceedings for an involuntary court-ordered admission, the person has the right to be present and may, at the discretion of the court, testify.
  1. What are a patient’s rights regarding treatment? (NRS 433.484)
  • A patient has a right to medical, psychosocial and rehabilitative care, treatment and training including prompt and appropriate medical treatment and care for physical and mental ailments and for the prevention of any illness or disability.
  • All of that care, treatment and training must be consistent with standards of practice of the respective professions in the community.
  • Before instituting a plan of care, treatment or informed consent must be obtained in writing the patient or patient’s legal guardian.
  • The consent of a patient may be withdrawn by the consumer in writing at any time with or without cause.
  • A patient has a right to be free from abuse, neglect and aversive intervention.

Useful links:

Behavioral Health and Wellness Council: www.health.nv.gov/BHWC.htm

Nevada Mental Health Commission: www.health.nv.gov/

Bazelon Center: www.bazelon.org

Mental Health America: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/