Can You Visit Someone on a 5150 Hold? An In-depth Look

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on June 30, 2023
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Have you ever wondered what happens when someone is placed under a 5150 hold and if you can visit them? This article aims to provide comprehensive information on this often misunderstood aspect of mental health law.

The Online Mental Health Reviews team is uniquely qualified to write about mental health providers visiting someone on a 5150 hold due to our overall experience and knowledge in the mental health field.

We have dealt with numerous cases involving 5150 delays, knowing all too well the traumatizing nature. of the experience, and can provide firsthand insights and understanding of the complexities involved in such situations.

This blog article will look at visiting privileges and other info related to the 5150s.

Here is the quick answer to visiting hours during a 5150 hold. It depends. The facility guidelines, situations, and individual circumstances make each case unique.

What is a 5150 Hold?

The 5150 hold, also known as the Lanterman–Petris–Short Act § 5150 hold, is a legal code in California that allows for the temporary, involuntary psychiatric commitment of individuals who present a danger to themselves or others.

A 5150 hold is an involuntary psychiatric hold that allows a person to be detained for up to 72 hours in an in-patient hospital or psychiatric facility if they pose a danger to themselves or others due to a mental health disorder.

The hold is typically issued by a qualified officer or clinician who has assessed the individual’s mental health condition.

Here is the official California Law you may read here: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=WIC&sectionNum=5150

Rights of Someone on a 5150 Hold

The rights of a person under a 5150 hold are protected under state and federal laws. They have the right to:

  • Be treated with dignity and respect.
  • Receive adequate care and treatment
  • Communicate with people outside the facility
  • Have their property respected.

However, their visitation rights as patients may be limited depending on their condition and the facility’s policies.

Unfortunately, individuals under 5150 may be disrespected or simply left alone for too long due to poor staffing and other conditions.

Visitation Restrictions

  • Visiting someone on a 5150 hold can be complex due to the sensitive nature of the situation.
  • Each case is unique, and restrictions may vary based on the individual’s mental health status, the facility’s rules, and the doctor’s recommendations.
  • In general, immediate family members are usually allowed to visit during designated hours, but all visitors must follow strict guidelines to ensure the patient’s well-being.

Outpatient, Inpatient, and Involuntary Commitment Holds

5150 - Psychiatric Hold - KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

Understanding the differences between outpatient, inpatient, and involuntary commitment holds is crucial.

  • An outpatient hold allows the individual to receive mental health treatment and services at home.
  • An inpatient hold requires the individual to stay in a hospital or facility.
  • A 5150 police code starts a ‘hold’, which is a form of involuntary commitment where the individual is held against their will due to safety concerns.
  • The type of hold can impact visitation rights, with inpatient and involuntary holds often having stricter regulations.

Exceptions to the Standard Process

There can be exceptions to these rules.

  1. For instance, if the patient expressly wishes to see a particular visitor, the healthcare provider may allow it outside the designated visiting hours.
  2. Conversely, if the healthcare provider deems a visit could potentially harm the patient’s condition, they may restrict it even if the visitor is an immediate family member.

The Importance of a 5150 Hold and Visitation Rights

The 5150 hold serves a critical purpose in psychiatric hospitals: to protect individuals who cannot care for themselves due to severe mental health issues.

  • Visitation during this time can provide emotional support, vital to the patient’s recovery.
  • However, it is equally important to respect the rules set by healthcare providers to ensure the patient’s safety and well-being. Sometimes close family members are part of the problem!

Overall, the 5150 hold is a necessary tool in mental health care but is not without its problems and should be considered one of many potential treatment options.

And while it may seem harsh to limit visitations, it is often done with the patient’s best interest and welfare in mind.

What Makes Someone Eligible for a 5150?

But what makes someone eligible for a 5150 hold?

For an individual to be placed on a 5150 hold, they must meet certain criteria. These include:

  • Showing signs of being a danger to themselves or others due to mental illness
  • Showing signs of grave disability due to mental illness
  • Being unable to provide for their own basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter
  • Refusing voluntary treatment
  • Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol may impair their judgment

Visiting someone on a 5150 hold can be difficult, but it is possible.

It’s important to remember that the individual is receiving care and treatment while on hold and that visiting them could help their recovery.

However, it’s important to check with the facility to ensure you can visit and if any restrictions are in place.

Warning Signs for Suicide: When Should You Use the 5150 Hold?

  • If a person is exhibiting signs of suicidal thoughts or behavior, such as talking about wanting to die, expressing hopelessness, or demonstrating a preoccupation with death.
  • If a person engages in self-destructive behaviors such as drug or alcohol abuse, reckless driving, or other dangerous activities.
  • If a person has made threats of violence against themselves or others.
  • If a person displays signs of psychosis such as hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, disorganized thinking, and speech.
  • If a person cannot care for themselves due to mental health issues.

Getting Help for a Loved One That Is Posing Harm to Themselves or Others

  • Contact a mental health professional: A mental health professional can help assess the situation and provide guidance on supporting your loved one best.
  • Reach out to local resources: Your local community may have resources such as crisis hotlines, suicide prevention centers, or emergency services that can assist.
  • Involuntary commitment (5150): In extreme cases, an individual may need to be placed on an involuntary hold (5150) to receive the necessary care. This is done through legal means and requires the approval of a judge or medical professional.

Steps to Take to Care for a Family Member Experiencing Mental Crisis

It’s possible to avoid a 5150 entirely. If you can prevent 5150s, please do because 5150s are meant as a last resort.

But when a family member is experiencing a mental health crisis, it can be difficult to know how to help. Here are some steps you can take to care for them:

  1. Stay calm and listen: It’s important to stay calm and provide a supportive environment for your loved one. Listen to their concerns and validate their feelings without judgment.
  2. Connect with crisis support: Reach out to local resources such as warmlines or hotlines that offer support for those needing help.
  3. Offer distractions: Provide activities or hobbies that can help distract from the situation and focus on something positive. Evidence-based journaling can be a great support tool.
  4. Ask what they need: Ask your loved one what they need to feel safe and supported during this time.
  5. Check in about suicidal thoughts: If your family member is expressing thoughts of suicide, take it seriously and seek professional help immediately.
  6. Encourage them to seek treatment: Offer encouragement and support for seeking professional help such as therapy, counseling, or medication if necessary.
  7. Take care of yourself: Caring for someone else can be emotionally draining, so make sure you’re taking care of yourself too by getting enough rest, eating healthy meals, exercising, and talking with friends or family members who understand the situation you’re going through.

How Long Is a 5150 Hold in California?

A 5150 hold in California is an involuntary, intensive psychiatric treatment that lasts up to 72 hours. During this time, the person may be transferred to another facility and evaluated or treated. After 72 hours, the person must be released unless admitted for further treatment.

What Happens After a 5150 Hold Ends?

A 5150 hold is an involuntary psychiatric hospitalization lasting up to 72 hours. During this time, the person is evaluated by a mental health professional and may be prescribed medication or receive other treatments. After the hold ends, the person may be released from the psychiatric hospital or transferred to another facility for further treatment.

What Happens After a 5150 Hold Ends?

  • The person may be discharged from the hospital and allowed to return home with any necessary follow-up care instructions.
  • They may be referred to outpatient services such as therapy, support groups, or medication management.
  • Sometimes, they may be transferred to a longer-term inpatient facility for additional treatment.
  • If there is an ongoing risk of harm to themselves or others, they may be placed on an involuntary commitment order which requires them to remain in a mental health facility until it is determined that they are no longer a danger.

Getting Treatment After the 72-Hour Hold

If someone is placed on a 72-hour hold, they will be monitored and evaluated by a treatment team.

  • The patient’s mental health will be assessed during this period to determine if they need long-term treatment.
  • Depending on the state, there may be a hearing within 72 hours to decide whether the patient should remain in hospital care or be released.
  • Patients who are held beyond 72 hours can stay for voluntary treatment or leave the facility.

Involuntary Psychiatric Holds and Firearm Prohibitions in California

According to Giffords Law Center, involuntary psychiatric care may lead to firearm removals. In addition:

  • Federal law prohibits possession of firearms if involuntarily hospitalized or committed to a mental health facility.
  • 5150 holds can justify involuntary hospitalization for up to 72 hours, leading to gun seizures.
  • People with two or more 5150 holds may have lifetime firearm bans.
  • Possession of firearms is prohibited for those adjudicated mentally ill or involuntarily committed to a mental institution.
  • 5250 holds can also lead to prohibitions on gun ownership.

Other mental health-related bans include:

  • Refusal of medication without a court order
  • Bans on leaving the facility without permission
  • Restrictions on contact with other individuals in the facility
  • Limitations on activities within the facility
  • Restrictions on access to certain areas of the facility
  • Limited access to personal items such as phones and laptops.

Is a 5150 Confidential?

Yes, all information related to a 5150 hold is confidential and protected by HIPAA laws.

What is a Certification Review Hearing?

  • According to the Superior Court of California, Los Angelos, a Certification Review Hearing is an informal legal hearing held at the hospital where a person has been placed on a 5250 or 5270 hold for psychiatric evaluation.
  • The purpose of the hearing is to determine if there is probable cause to keep the person on hold.
  • During the hearing, the patient’s attorney can present evidence and make arguments on their behalf.
  • A Mental Health Hearing Officer will decide whether to keep the patient on hold.

To Get the Support You Need: Additional Resources on Mental Health Holds

  • Family Education & Resource Center (FERC): An essential destination for families needing initial advice, offering a wealth of resources and responses to common questions concerning crises and 5150 holds. Learn More
  • County of Santa Clara Behavioral Health Services – 5150 Training: A valuable asset for those desiring a comprehensive understanding of the 5150 procedures or professionals whose roles may demand such expertise. Learn More
  • Orange County Health Care Agency – Navigating the Involuntary (5150) Hold Process: This guide offers an all-encompassing view of the 5150 hold process, encompassing assessment and evaluation procedures. Learn More
  • Aspiro Adventure – Navigating A 5150 Hold For Minors: A Guide For Parents: Specifically tailored to aid parents faced with a potential 5150 hold on their child, this resource provides comforting guidance during potentially overwhelming times. Learn More
  • California Senate – Important Resources By County: A practical tool for Californians, breaking down mental health resources, including 5150 details, by county, enabling easy location of local assistance. Learn More

Can You Visit Someone On A 5150 Hold Conclusion

Navigating the complexities of life in a 5150 hold can be challenging for both the individuals involved and their loved ones. It’s crucial to understand the purpose of the hold, the rights of the individual, and the potential restrictions on visitation.

Remember, the ultimate goal is to ensure the safety and well-being of the person in crisis. Professional advice should always be sought to provide the best possible outcome for all involved.

For further reading, check out resources about 5150 holds, the impact of a 5150, 5150 costs, visiting, public records, 5150 rules, after-release, get out of a hold, background check, self-commitment, who pays, minors, and 5150 codes.

Remember, if you need to reach a lawyer or expert for urgent questions, Just Answer’s $5 trial is a reasonable option. Our team has bought and reviewed Just Answer, and we believe this service could be helpful when navigating the complexities of the healthcare industry.

Our team welcomes your involvement in our discussions on 51/50s. Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions about 5150 records or if there’s a mental health software product you’d like Online Mental Health Reviews to investigate next.

If You’re In An Emergency

Waiting for an online therapy session in a crisis might not be the safest option. If immediate help is needed, especially if there are intentions to harm oneself or others, please dial 911. For those contemplating self-harm, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is reachable at 988, providing round-the-clock assistance.

Another available resource is the National Helpline of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 800-662-HELP (4357). This service offers free, confidential advice and treatment referrals for individuals struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues, available 24/7 throughout the year.

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