Going into hospital for carers
Mental illness is normally treated outside hospital. Doctors call this 'treatment in the community'. But there are times when people become unwell and they need to go into hospital. This section explains what happens when someone you know goes into hospital.
We have called the person ‘your relative’, but we know they might not be a member of your family. Hospitals vary and so we can only give an overview of what might happen.
- If your relative agrees to go into hospital, they are called a ‘voluntary patient'. This means that they can leave if they want to.
- In some cases, your relative might have to go into hospital when they don't want to. Doctors call this being ‘detained’ under the Mental Health Act. When this happens, your relative will not be able to leave unless the hospital doctor agrees.
- Some hospitals have separate wards for men and women, but not all hospitals do. There should always be single sex toilets and washing facilities.
- You can see your relative if they want visits, but there may be fixed visiting times.
- Your relative might be given medication, talking therapy or occupational therapy.
- If your relative agrees, you can speak to doctors at 'ward rounds' or meetings. This is a good chance to raise any concerns you have.
- Your relative will be able to wear their own clothes on the ward.
This section covers:
- When will my relative go into hospital?
- How can we prepare?
- What will the hospital be like?
- What sort of ward will my relative be on?
- Can I visit my relative?
- What care and treatment will my relative get?
- Can my relative leave hospital?
- Can I be involved in my relative’s care?
These pages are created by Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service in accordance with the Information Standard. Last reviewed in June 2016. Next review June 2019.
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