Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Is there a court order to get info about your loved one in the hospital

Does anyone know this? Or do you have to get guardianship to find out what is going on with your loved one in the hospital. Because of hippa they can’t even tell me if he is there (which I know he is). The weekend nurses were much more understanding. All I can know is the process that a person goes through. They also told me that they don’t necessarily tell me if or when he is moved. I believe they have to tell me when he is released because he lives with me. No wonder many people end up homeless.

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As far as I know, there is no way to get this information unless your loved one will sign the paperwork allowing the staff to communicate with you.

Is your son unwilling to do this? If he has so far refused, just keep trying. You should be able to call a common phone on his unit and ask to speak with him. Can be a bit of an adventure since patients are answering the phone. But keep trying.


They said they ask but he won’t. I can only call them and leave a message for him to call me. He’s called twice for very short calls asking about his personal things. I am hopeful once they get him on meds he will start allowing us to visit. They said that happens more than not.

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Try going to the hospital at visiting hours with his items and telling them who you want to visit, and have them go back and ask him right then and there - because you can’t visit without that permission, but he might want those things that you bring. That might induce him to sign the paperwork.

If he still won’t, consider leaving things for him along with a previously written note, just telling him you love him, and hope he is doing okay, or something simple like that.


Yes did this all weekend. I actually got a call from the doctor so now I know. He is refusing meds and they are getting a court order. He’ll likely be there for a few weeks. I’m going to try enjoy the calm before he get out! Hopefully he will take the meds.

Vallpen is correct. your loved one will have to give your consent and sign paperwork allowing the staff to communicate with you.
it happens to me back in December where I was desperately trying to locate my missing son and he is in CA miles and miles away from me.
I called the police to make a missing police report in the city where I suspect he would bet at and Police told to check that particular hospital. I went through several operators within the ER and hospital unit and no one would tell me that he is there. Finally I begged the nurse who responded on the phone and told her that my anxiety level is so high and i just want to know that he is alive. She gave me that the patient telephone Number and I called and my Son answered and it was a XMAs gift to me. of course he shouted at me but I was happy to hear his voice.
later I contacted sent fax # to the nurse station and faxed my guardianship paper and and ask to talk to the Social Worker and the doctor and also send an email to Hospital CEO regarding my guardianship.
finally after all my efforts and my faxes, the doctor listened to me and recommended my son to be conserved.
he is still now in the hospital and doing better on shots. he is being forced to take shots. but he still non-compliant on taking oral medicine.
I have a family friend visiting him twice a week. I will be traveling to California by the end of May to check on him

I would say Guardianship helped me to keep in hospital and keep him safe…


That’s quite the story! What a gift to finally get him on the phone! When they conserve them what does that mean? Keep until stable? The doctor that called today said he certified my son so he could get the court ordered medication. Is conserving the same as certified?

Find your state’s laws here:
[Click on the “relevant statute” in the boxes.]

When they make a discharge plan, if he decides to live with you, agree ONLY if you have a signed medical power of attorney from your son along with release of information for all known doctors and providers.

That way, you can find out when his appointments are and pick up prescriptions. You might not need to go the whole guardianship route. But ask if there is emergency or temporary guardianship; that might help. UNLESS the state will take him into their conservatorship. The state being the guardian is the best where we live.

A document similar to this one might work, but make sure the clauses that allow you to talk to doctors work no matter what, even when he is not incapacitated:

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Thank you very much! This helps me get started. Much appreciated. You guys are the best!

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Diane, you may want to start “drawing lines in the sand”. The first firm line to draw would be that your son will sign the HIPAA release “if he is going to be allowed to come home to live with you”. Another line is that he will be on injectable meds “if he is going to come home to live with you”. Drawing lines is a game changer, and if the psychiatrist is wise and caring, he’ll recognize this and support it.

You’ve probably read about how many of us feel the need to “dangle carrots” to help our children do what they need to do to be safe and healthy. Right now, you have the upper hand.

I hate the thought of you getting him home and having to go through the BS of him stopping daily oral meds. Been there, done that. It gets old.


That is what I am hoping for. The living with me with meds or out will be a challenge for me but I know it’s needed. I fear he’ll say no meds. and I will have to follow through with kicking him out.


You won’t have to “kick him out”. He just won’t be “allowed to come back to live with you”. Talk to the Social Worker. He or she will explain “step down” living options.

If your son likes living with you, he may very well be fine with your expectations.

This is not about applying “tough love”, as I don’t believe that’s a humane way to treat our severely ill children. Instead this is about dangling those carrots, to give you a best chance to get your son’s head clear while you have the chance.

And if your son says “No”, you can wait to see if he changes his mind. If discharge day comes and he is still saying no, then you can rethink the situation. At that point, at least a step down living arrangement will have been well-planned and not just decided upon on the fly.

There is going to be a learning curve for your son. He’s going to have to learn that he needs your help, and that meds can help him have a more comfortable existence.

The fact that you have a small local hospital sounds similar to what we have available to us. We are fortunate in that our son now considers our local hospital as his “safe place”.

And one more thing…during our son’s first involuntary hospitalization (actually the second, but we had no idea what was happening during the first one, so it doesn’t really count), when he was extremely ill, he did have a civil court judge order meds involuntarily. Our son proceeded to go off the oral meds upon discharge, and he became extremely ill once again. It was during the next hospitalization that we started drawing the lines in the sand. We said “injections are the expectation for discharge to us” and our son said OK. He wanted to come home. He had no other place to go, as I told everyone to shut him down if he asked to go live with them.

I feel like I just wrote a book here, so I’m sorry about that. I just hate to see people go through this. We all have had such hard journeys. I’m just sharing mine.


DianeR, when the county or State conserves someone means that county/state becomes his public guardian. this is the best option when parents cannot enforce the compliance on the meds. also the county would take responsibility of finding him a residential facility after hospital and assign him to a social worker to follow up on his medications/shots and his well being…
I am not sure about certification. it may mean that he will be involuntarily committed to treatment…

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I had to do an emergency Guardianship first prior to permanent guardianship. a court person needs to serve your son with guardianship order prior to court appearance and again he needs to be served for the permanent guardianship prior to court appearance. and since your son is sick, it does not have to appear in the court and that is how you win the guardianship case.

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Excellent advice @Hereandhere! Given the circumstances, allowing your son to stay with you only if you have some position of decision-making is the best way to handle it.


Just saw this -such good news that the doctor certified him!

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Hello Diane,
Yes, we have had many problems. we did not know the whereabouts of our son for almost 1 year. he was being detained in a holding cell and we were not able to have contact with him. It has to be the most heart wrenching of situations.
If you know where your son is, you should be able to find out if he is stable, safe and in no immediate danger. I mean, that’s all they would tell us. demand to talk to a doctor or social worker! Say I know he is here and want to talk to the doctor!
It’s amazing that a parent is not allowed any info or updates, just isn’t right.
My heart aches for you and your family, rely on each other for support, lots of prayers for you.
As far as conservativorship, it is a long court approved road, If you have money and a lawyer.
Edit** yes your son can sign a release of information if he is capable and wants to. you can ask a social worker to help you with this.


Thank you for all the tips. I appreciate it. I’m going to try to talk to his care coordinator today when I go over. I’m sure my son won’t see me but they said to keep going and keep calling.


Good news! My son let me in (he wanted them to give him his suitcase that we dropped off on Sat.) I was able to talk them into going through it so he’d be less agitated and he could have his clothes. I was also able to talk to this nurse and doctor. When they are in the process of getting the court order they are allowed to give anti-psychotic medicine that last 24 hours. They told him take the pill or you’ll get a shot. He is already a world of difference! He still said - if you really are my mom. If I get in tomorrow I will sing him a few stupid jingles I made up when he was a kid (No one else would know them). He has asked for pants so we’re hoping to get in again by bringing those next. Bless these meds!


Wow they can involuntarily give AP meds while they’re waiting for the court order? That’s awesome. We had to wait until a judge ruled, and it took 11 days to get that done. What state are you in?

Did your son choose the pill or the shot, and what med is it if you don’t mind me asking? So glad he’s allowing you to see him. That’s a good sign that he trusts you, even if he’s not sure you’re really his Mom.

I’m so looking forward to you getting to see your old son again. He’s in there.

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