2006 Louisiana Laws - RS 28:52 — Voluntary admissions; general provisions

§52.  Voluntary admissions; general provisions

A.  Any mentally ill person or person suffering from substance abuse may apply for voluntary admission to a treatment facility.  The admitting physician may admit the person on either a formal or informal basis, as hereinafter provided.

B.  Admitting physicians are encouraged to admit mentally ill persons or persons suffering from substance abuse to treatment facilities on voluntary admission status whenever medically feasible.

C.  No director of a treatment facility shall prohibit any mentally ill person or person suffering from substance abuse from applying for conversion of involuntary or emergency admission status to voluntary admission status.  Any patient on an involuntary admission status shall have the right to apply for a writ of habeas corpus in order to have his admission status changed to voluntary status.

D.  No employee of a mental health care program or treatment facility, peace officer, physician, or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner shall state to any person that involuntary admission may result if such person does not voluntarily admit himself to a mental health care program or treatment facility unless the employee, peace officer, physician, or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner is prepared to execute a certificate pursuant to R.S. 28:53 or a petition pursuant to R.S. 28:54.

E.  Each person admitted on a voluntary basis shall be informed of any other medically appropriate alternative treatment programs and treatment facilities known to the admitting physician and be given an opportunity to seek admission to alternative treatment programs or facilities.

F.  Every patient admitted on a voluntary admission status shall be informed in writing at the time of admission of the procedures for requesting release from the treatment facility, the availability of counsel, information about the mental health advocacy service, the rights enumerated in R.S. 28:171 and rules and regulations applicable to or concerning his conduct while a patient in the treatment facility.  If the person is illiterate or does not read or understand English, appropriate provisions should be made to supply him this information.  In addition, a copy of the information listed in this Subsection must be posted in any area where patients are confined and treated.

G.  No admission may be deemed voluntary unless the admitting physician determines that the person to be admitted has the capacity to make a knowing and voluntary consent to the admission.

Knowing and voluntary consent shall be determined by the ability of the individual to understand:

(1)  That the treatment facility to which the patient is requesting admission is one for mentally ill persons or persons suffering from substance abuse;

(2)  That he is making an application for admission, and

(3)  The nature of his status and the provisions governing discharge or conversion to an involuntary status.

H.(1)  Voluntary patients may receive medications or treatment, but no major surgical procedure or electroshock therapy may be performed upon such patient, without the patient's written and informed consent.  If it is determined by the director of the treatment facility that a voluntary patient has become incapable of making an informed consent for such procedure, he shall apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for a determination of the patient's specific incompetence to give informed consent for the procedure.  If the director, in consultation with two physicians, determines that the condition of a voluntary patient who is incapable of informed consent is of such critical nature that it may be life-threatening unless major surgical procedures or electroshock treatment is administered, the emergency measures may be taken without the consent otherwise provided for in this Section.

(2)(a)  Notwithstanding the provision of Paragraph (1) of this Subsection, any licensed physician may administer medication to a patient without his consent and against his wishes in a situation which, in the reasonable judgment of the physician who is observing the patient during the emergency, constitutes a psychiatric or behavioral emergency.  For purposes of this Paragraph a "psychiatric or behavioral emergency" occurs when a patient, as a result of mental illness, substance abuse, or intoxication engages in behavior which, in the clinical judgment of the physician, places the patient or others at significant and imminent risk of damage to life or limb.  The emergency administration of medication may be continued until the emergency subsides, but in no event shall it exceed forty-eight hours, except on weekends or holidays when it may be extended for an additional twenty-four hours.

(b)  The physician shall make a reasonable effort to consult with the primary physician or primary care provider outside the facility that has previously treated the patient for his mental condition at the earliest possible time, but in no event more than forty-eight hours after the emergency administration of medication has begun, except on weekends or holidays, when the time period may be extended an additional twenty-four hours.  The physician shall record in the patient's file either the date and time of the consultation and a summary of the comments of the primary physician or primary care provider or, if the physician is unable to consult with the primary physician or primary care provider, the date and time that a consultation with the primary physician or primary care provider was attempted.

Amended by Acts 1952, No. 152, §1; Acts 1954, No. 701, §1; Acts 1972, No. 154, §1; Acts 1976, No. 614, §1, eff. Aug. 4, 1976; Acts 1977, No. 714, §1; Acts 1992, No. 798, §1, eff. July 7, 1992; Acts 1993, No. 891, §1, eff. June 23, 1993; Acts 2001, No. 192, §1; Acts 2006, No. 664, §1.

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