What do I need to know about my father being baker acted?

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My 80 year old father started getting very confused and was progressing quickly. My mother took him to the doctor on a Wednesday and they did bloodwork but didn't get back to her. On Saturday things were progressing so she was worried there was something happening so took him to ER. They admitted him for the night. They gave him meds and watched him in the Primary care unit for a few days. Then on Tuesday we were told they were moving him to the psych floor for more intense evaluation. Since we have never experience anything like this we had no idea until after he was moved that they had Baker Acted him. It has now been 6 days and we have very few answers and do not know what we need to do next. I am calling the social worker today to see what they will tell me. I'm hoping someone out there has answers or can tell me what I need to ask, do or what next!? thank you in advance

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Baker Act is a protective custody for people who have severe psych problems. It is a 72 hour hold (no longer) where they evaluate the patient. This can be involuntary or voluntary (your dad's was likely voluntary as he voluntarily went to the ER for help)

If they determine that the patient is a danger to him/herself or others the facility holding the patient can go to a judge and ask that this stay be longer. Since you and your family are involved in your fathers care and are basically working with the facility, I am concerned as to why you are receiving no information about what is happening. At this point, the proceedings of the Baker Act beyond the 72 hour initial hold are very similar to a criminal case (court wise). Alternatively your father may have agreed on his own to stay beyond 72 hours. If this is the case, there is no court involved.

You are already taking the right steps to contact the social worker assigned to your dad's case. If you hold POA and/or healthcare proxy the information should be provided to you. If there is no POA and no proxy this may mean you cannot receive information. Each state has it's own laws to manage the Baker Act.

If the social worker confirms that the courts are involved then you need to contact the public defender assigned to your dad's case so that you can be kept updated.

One word of caution...mental illness can be scary and dangerous. You did the right thing having him taken to the ER before someone was hurt. Unless you feel that the care he is receiving is poor I urge you to take the advice of the psychiatrist attending him. They very well may be trying different combinations of medications that will keep your dad calm and peaceful in the future...you don't want to blow this gift. This could be the answer to your father's future health and peace of mind and could be the best thing that has happened to him. Please don't accuse them of holding him against his will, or anything legal until you are CERTAIN that they are acting inappropriately. Psychiatric doctors have seen it all...and are usually extremely interested in finding a place of calm and health for their patients. They aren't looking to "make a buck" in fact Baker Acted patients overwhelm ERs and psychiatric hospitals...they certainly don't need to create a mental illness to make money. Generally they want to help people and are doing the best for their wards. Become their ally, not an enemy.

Angel
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