While caregivers may provide care for family members at a care facility, or the caregiver’s residence, it is my experience that many individuals wish to continue to reside and receive care in their home for as long as possible.
Given the strong desire to remain at home, caregivers and the ones they are caring for should be aware that the Mental Health Act (the “MHA”) provides authority to remove an individual from their home without their consent and place them in a designated care facility should this be necessary for the wellbeing of caregiver or care recipient.
The process under the MHA an individual with a serious mental illness may be removed from his/her home involuntarily and admitted to a designated facility by way of:
● a physician’s medical certificate; police intervention; or a court order.
Caregivers and care recipients are more likely to come across the first situation, a physician’s medical certificate. A physician will examine an individual and complete a medical certificate, if that individual fits the criteria set out in the MHA for involuntary admissions.
The first certificate authorizes anyone to take the individual to a designated care facility where they may be detained for up to 48 hours.
A second medical certificate will be completed by a different physician if the individual is to be involuntarily held longer than 48 hours, and allows for up to a month, at which time a renewal certificate must be completed to retain the individual for a longer period.
There are four criteria that must be present to remove an individual from his or her home and involuntarily admit that individual to a designated facility under the MHA.
The criteria are:
- the individual is suffering from a mental disorder that seriously impairs the person’s ability to react appropriately to his or her environment or to associate with others;
- the individual requires psychiatric treatment in or through a designated facility;
- the individual requires care, supervision and control in or through a designated facility to prevent the person’s substantial mental or physical deterioration or for the person’s own protection or the protection of others; and
- the individual is not suitable as a voluntary patient.
To involuntarily admit and detain an individual ALL four criteria must be present.