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A Review of Basic Patient Rights in Psychiatric Care

Cady, Rebecca F. Esq., BSN, JD, CPHRM

JONA's Healthcare Law, Ethics, and Regulation: October-December 2010 - Volume 12 - Issue 4 - p 117-125
doi: 10.1097/NHL.0b013e3181f4d357

ABSTRACT Although patient rights is a concept that all nurse managers need to be aware of, this concept often becomes confusing when applied to patients undergoing psychiatric treatment. It is important for the nurse manager to understand the basic rights that psychiatric patients are entitled to, to best be able to help staff nurses under his/her supervision to protect these rights. The nurse manager on a psychiatric unit often serves as a reference for staff nurses, and even for physicians, when questions regarding patient rights present themselves. The nurse manager should be certain to discuss these issues with the facility's legal and risk management team to be aware of particulars of the law of the state in which the facility is located, as state laws may differ somewhat in their treatment of psychiatric patients.

Author Affiliation: Children's National Medical Center, Washington, District of Columbia.

Correspondence: Rebecca F. Cady, Esq., BSN, JD, CPHRM, Children's National Medical Center, 111 Michigan Ave, NW Washington, DC 20010 (

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.