Involuntary Admissions Process

Fairfax Behavioral Health understands that the involuntary admissions process can seem intimidating. To ensure a smooth transition, we provide resources to help you understand when, how, and why it happens, as well as the relevant laws Fairfax complies with in the Seattle metropolitan area.

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Fairfax Behavioral Health Is Here To Help

The involuntary hospitalization process for a psychiatric emergency may be somewhat frightening and confusing for you and your loved ones. We want to help you understand what takes place when a psychiatric emergency occurs that requires involuntary hospitalization. This will help you understand the safety measures that are in place that keep our community and our people safe. Please take the time to read through this, as it is our goal at Fairfax Health to bridge the gaps, answer the unknowns and provide patient-centric care in the Seattle metropolitan area. Let’s start at the beginning.

What would trigger an Involuntary Hospitalization for you or a loved one?

Like every state, Washington has civil commitment laws that help our community health and law enforcement determine when involuntary treatment is appropriate. A civil commit law is a court-ordered hospitalization to help protect a person suffering from mental illness – usually upon a finding that the person is dangerous to him or herself or to others. These laws were put in place to help keep those with severe mental health issues and our communities safe. They are also focused on helping and providing resources to the person dealing with these difficult and unforeseen circumstances in their life. At Fairfax hospital, our staff and facility were designed to ensure that safety comes first, so we can provide the best care and help you or your loved one feel better. When an involuntary hospitalization occurs, a patient has met one of the following criteria and is brought to our hospital for treatment:

Patient is a danger to self/others/property; or Patient is in danger of serious harm from failure to provide for essential human needs of health or safety; or Patient has severe deterioration in routine functioning evidenced by loss of cognitive or volitional control and not be receiving essential care.

What is Washington State’s Involuntary Treatment Act (ITA)?

The ITA (Involuntary Treatment Act) was designed to ensure our people and communities are safe. The goal is to safely place individuals, through a court order, into a hospital or facility, even if they don’t want to be admitted for a period of time. This act was designed to help people get the evaluations and treatment so they are safe and not able to hurt themselves or others. At Fairfax, we strive to obey all of the safety laws and provide every patient and their loved ones with dignity, quality care and respect.

What does the involuntary admittance process look like?

This involuntary process is complex and can feel traumatic to the person being admitted and their loved ones. When someone is admitted ‘involuntarily’ to our hospital, they likely don’t want to be admitted and may not understand why they are being admitted. Their loved ones may also be confused. The program is designed to keep the patient and community safe. Involuntary patients are transported to our hospital by ambulance or our community police officers. Our hospital, police officers and paramedics have laws and safety guidelines we follow. We all collectively strive to maintain the dignity of the patients we serve, while keeping other patients and our staff safe.

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