What are the procedures for involuntary admission?

Most of the time, hospitalisations are arranged with the consent of the patient; however, if the patient is unstable, such as displaying behaviours that threaten themselves or others, the patient may be subjected to involuntary admission. 

• Eligibility of Applicant
Involuntary admission can be requested by family members, registered doctors or certified social workers (approved by the Social Welfare Department).

• Considerations of Application
Judging whether the patient needs to be admitted for observation based on the nature of the patient’s condition. 
Involuntary admission aims to ensure the safety and health of the patient, as well as the safety of the others. 

• Duration
The general duration is 7 days; but can be extended up to a maximum of 21 days. 

• Discharge from Hospital: Priority Follow Up 
Once the patient has been discharged from the hospital, the responsible physician will decide whether they need priority follow up based on their condition. Patient will be evaluated by professionals before they are allowed to leave the hospital; the assessment criteria include the patient’s extent of recovery, violent tendencies, suicidal tendencies, compliance to medication instructions, support from family and community etc. 

Once the patient is suited to be discharged, the hospital will arrange appropriate rehabilitation services for them in order to help them adapt. Professionals will also schedule follow-ups for the patient depending on their condition, either at specialist out-patient clinic/psychiatric day hospital, or visits provided by the Community Psychiatric Nursing Services. 

Patients who are subjected to priority follow up will be reviewed by experienced psychiatrist prior their discharge from hospital; they would only be allowed to leave if the doctor agrees with the arrangement and completes their condition reviewing process. Hospital Authority will also schedule special follow-ups by the Community Psychiatric Nursing Services for these patients, including home visits etc.; as well as arranging experienced psychiatrist to see them at specialist out-patient clinic, so that the support for these patients after leaving the hospital is increased, and hopefully they will be able to recover sooner and integrate back into the society. 

If family members notice unstable mental state in a priority follow up patient, they may contact the responsible
appointment or admission.