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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00752

Right to appeal, non-treatment, and violence among forensic and civil inpatients awaiting incapacity appeal decisions in Ontario

  • 1Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada

Background: Mental health legislation in Ontario, Canada, permits inpatients to refuse treatment while appealing their incapacity finding to the Consent and Capacity Board (CCB). Lack of treatment during this period poses safety concerns, as inpatients who remain untreated are at higher risk of engaging in violent behavior. The present study explored the relationship between non-treatment and violence among forensic and civil inpatients awaiting their CCB hearing at the largest psychiatric hospital in Canada.
Methods: We investigated the electronic health records of 285 inpatients whose CCB applications were heard between 2014 and 2016 to better understand violent outcomes among inpatients and determine whether application timelines differed between forensic and civil inpatients.
Results: Four key findings were observed. First, forensic inpatients had more episodes of violence requiring seclusion and restraint during the application timeline compared with civil inpatients. Second, forensic inpatients waited longer than civil inpatients for their appeal to be heard at the CCB. Third, the most ill inpatients, indexed by degree of comorbidity, waited the longest for their CCB appeal. Finally, unwillingness to accept PRN medications was a potent risk factor for violence among all inpatients.
Conclusions: Compared with civil inpatients, forensic inpatients waited longer for CCB appeals. They also scored higher on one measure of violent behavior. Further research should explore the clinical implications of non-treatment for higher-risk groups, such as forensic inpatients and inpatients with comorbidities.

Keywords: Forensic Psychiatry, Incapacity, Violence, Mental health legislation, psychiatric treatment

Received: 09 Jun 2019; Accepted: 19 Sep 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Kolla and Radisic. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Nathan J. Kolla, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Toronto, M5T 1L8, Ontario, Canada, nathan.kolla@camh.ca