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Article   |    
Do Dangerousness-Oriented Commitment Laws Restrict Hospitalization of Patients Who Need Treatment? A Test
Sarah Cleveland; Edward P. Mulvey; Paul S. Appelbaum; Charles W. Lidz
Psychiatric Services 1989; doi:
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This research was partially supported by grant MH40030 from the violent and antisocial behavior branch of the National Institute of Mental Health.

Lincoln College in Oxford, England

University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Departrnent of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 3811 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213

University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester

Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic

1989 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

A study at a large urban psychiatric hospital in Pennsylvania evaluated whether the state's dangerousness-oriented commitment criteria restricted bosp italization of patients whom emergency room clinicians considered highly in need of treatment but not dangerous. A total of 390 patients were studied. Eleven patients judged to be highly in need of treatment did not meet any of the commitment criteria, but they were largely compliant with the idea of being treated. An additional 17 patients considered highly in need of treatment met criteria for commitment based on inability to care for self, but most were hospitalized voluntarily. Only one patient who met none of the commitment criteria resisted recommended hospital care, and she was eventually committed involuntarily based on inability to care for self. The data suggest that dangerousness-oriented commitment criteria are flexible enough to provide for treatment of patients in serious need.

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