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How to File The Florida’s Baker Act Order
Rights Of Patients Who Are Involuntarily Committed Under Florida’s Baker Act
Florida’s Baker Act means in which a person who poses a significant harm to himself or others can be voluntarily committed for care by mental health professionals. However, involuntary commitment does not mean that the patient does not have certain rights the patient or patient’s guardian is not able to assert. Any patient entering a mental health facility must be informed of these rights at the time of commitment.
Basic Rights Under The Baker Act
Patients have certain basic rights under the Baker Act. Some of these rights include:
- Any parent who is held by a facility by more than 12 hours, must be given a physical examination by a qualified professional within 24 hours of entering the facility.
- Patients must receive an individual treatment plan in writing within 5 days after being admitted and the Patient or patient’s guardian must be given the opportunity to assist in the preparation of the plan and be given the opportunity to review the plan. The plan must also include space for the patients to make comments.
- Patients or patient’s guardian must be asked to give informed consent to treatment and before giving permission patients and/or their guardians must be given certain information including; the reason for admission, the proposed treatment, risks, benefits and side effects of treatments, dosages of any medications, length of care, what the possible effects of stopping treatment should be, how the treatment will be monitored, and that the consent for treatment can be withdrawn either before treatment has started or during the treatment.
- Patients or Patient’s guardians are allowed to question the legality of any commitment
- The ability to petition the court if the patient is being denied any of their rights.
What You Need to Know About Involuntary Commitment
If an involuntary exam has been initiated, then the exam must take place within 72 hours of the time that the patient enters the hospital or facility. If after an examination, it is found that the patient does not meet the criteria necessary for involuntary commitment the patient can be offered voluntarily treatment or releases.
If the patient does meet the criteria for involuntary commitment a court hearing must take place within 5 days. The patient or the patient’s guardian has the right to have an independent exam prior to the meeting or before the court hands down their order.
If the court decides involuntary commitment is necessary they can order the commitment which can be effective for up to 6 months. However, the facility is required to release the patient any time they improve to the point that they no longer meet the criteria for involuntary commitment.
The court order must also specify the nature and extent of a Patient’s mental illness. The court also has the option of ordering outpatient treatment instead of inpatient treatment if the court deems outpatient treatment is necessary and will better serve the patient.
If you need assistance in filing an order in the state of Florida for mental illness please contact us for step by step assistance at 866-631-0026.