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Discharge Rights of Patients in Inpatient Mental Health Facilities

Disability Rights

This article explains rights regarding discharge and discharge planning for patients in inpatient mental health facilities.

Discharge is your release from the hospital, and the discharge planning process identifies the services and supports you need after you leave the hospital.

This article is reproduced from the website of Disability Rights Texas. The original can be found here

Your Rights Generally

Discharge planning should begin as soon as you are admitted to the hospital, whether you are admitted voluntarily or involuntarily. If you are admitted involuntarily and a court orders that you be treated for a set period of time, discharge planning should still begin when you arrive at the hospital. Whether you are in a state hospital or a private psychiatric facility, you have a right to participate in the discharge planning process, which includes telling the hospital staff what services and supports you think you need when you leave the hospital and where you want to live.

With your permission, the hospital or facility must make a reasonable effort to notify your family before you are discharged. You can ask the hospital not to notify your family.

What does discharge planning from a state hospital involve?

t a minimum, discharge planning must include the following activities:

  • Identifying and recommending clinical services and supports you need after discharge (visits with a doctor, medication and medication supports etc.);
  • Identifying and recommending non-clinical services and supports you need after discharge (housing, food and clothing etc.);
  • Identifying potential providers and community resources for the services or supports recommended;
  • Counseling you and your legally authorized representative, if any, to prepare for your care after discharge; and
  • Your doctor must prepare a continuing care plan (unless you don’t need one) that includes:
    • a description of your recommended placement that reflects your preference, choice and available community resources;
    • a description of recommended services and supports you may receive after discharge;
    • a description of problems identified at discharge, which can include issues that may disrupt your stability in the community;
    • your goals and objectives as identified by your treatment team;
    • a final diagnosis or diagnoses;
    • providers you will be referred to for services and supports after discharge;
    • the amount of medication you will need after discharge until you are seen by a doctor; and
    • the individual or entity responsible for providing and paying for the medication. A state hospital must also provide you with a seven-day supply of medication at discharge.

What does discharge planning from a private hospital involve?

Persons in private psychiatric facilities have the following rights related to discharge:

  • Discharge planning must include you and must involve your Interdisciplinary Team (IDT);
  • At a minimum, discharge planning must include in the following:
    • your IDT must recommend the services and supports you need after discharge, which must include a recommendation about placement (i.e. where you should live);
    • qualified staff members must arrange for the recommended services and supports;
    • qualified staff members must counsel you and your legally authorized representative or caregiver, as appropriate, to prepare everyone for post-discharge care;
  • Your doctor must prepare a written discharge summary that describes:
    • the treatment you received in the hospital and your response;
    • your condition at discharge;
    • your placement after discharge;
    • the services and supports you will receive
    • your final diagnosis or diagnoses; and
    • the amount of medication you will need until you are evaluated by a physician and the person of entity responsible for paying for the medication. However, the hospital is not required to pay for the medication.

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