Sunday, September 6, 2009
NAMI's "Turning over the furniture"
Yes, this is a REAL NAMI document.
How to prepare for an emergency
by D.J. Jaffe
Sometime, during the course of your loved one's illness, you may need the police. By preparing now, before you need help, you can make the day you need help go much more smoothly. There are three things to do. First, you should establish contact with your local precinct, before you need help. Secondly, you should have the attached info sheet filled out in duplicate, ready at all times. Thirdly, you should read the article at the end of this page on how to make 911 respond to your calls.
1. ESTABLISH CONTACT WITH PRECINCT
Someday your loved one may be missing from home or hospital. Normally, the police will not fill out a missing persons report & start looking for them until they are gone 24 hours. But by making arrangements beforehand, you can insure that if this happens to you, they will start looking immediately. Or, let's say your relative is becoming increasingly agitated & uncontrollable & you have to call the police to take them to a hospital. It is very likely that the police will go to the hospital of their choice, not yours. But by making arrangements beforehand, you can have a say in where that person is taken. In addition, if your relative is picked up for some crime (drugs, let's say); by making prior arrangements, you can help see that they go to a hospital instead of jail. Finally, it may make it easier for you to get someone involuntarily committed, if & when you have to do that. The way to make these arrangements is to call the "Community Patrol Officer Program" (C-POP Officer) at your local police precinct, now, before you need help. If you do not have a C-POP program (i.e, outside NYC), call the station commander. Tell them that you have a MI relative at home & that you want to make the police aware of it, in case you ever need help. Tell them you are worried that if they are ever missing the police won't start looking until after 24 hours; or that if you need police to take your relative to a hospital, they won't go to the one you want; or that if your relative is busted, they will go to jail, instead of to a hospital. Tell the C-POP (pronounced, "see-pop") officer, that it was suggested that individuals with MI relatives contact the C-POP officers, before help is needed to make them aware of the situation, & that is why you are calling. The officer may think this is unusual, but you should do it anyway. FOLLOW THE CONVERSATION UP, WITH A LETTER ADDRESSED TO THE C-POP OFFICER & SEND A COPY TO THE PRECINCT COMMANDER. If you ever do need help, call 911 if it's an emergency. If not, call your local precinct. When the police come, mention the C-POP Officer & Precinct Commander by name. The police who come to your door do not know what to expect. By mentioning these names, you help calm them & help identify that it is not you who needs help, it is your relative. They will also be more likely to listen to you, & may even get the Commander on the phone or walkie talkie. Because you have prepared ahead of time, they are more likely to take the person where you want them to be taken, & to listen to you carefully. Be calm.
2. PREPARE INFORMATION & HAVE IT READY
If your relative needs emergency hospitalization, it will be extremely stressful to everyone. It is made more difficult by the myriad of questions that need to be answered. By having the answers to these questions written and ready, you can insure that the emergency hospitalization will not only be less stressful, but that your relative is more likely to get proper care. For instance, identify his doctor, & what medicines he is currently on, so those medicines can be continued, increased, or removed as appropriate. Indicate what hospital you use. Below is a form you should fill out. After filling it out, make two copies & keep one on hand (in your wallet) all the time. One for you, one for the police, one for the hospital.
FILL OUT THE FOLLOWING FORM AND KEEP DUPLICATES HANDY
CRISIS INFORMATION PAGE (FOR POLICE/HOSPITAL/EMS)
Please take this person to _____________________hospital.
This person is not a criminal. He/she has a mental illness. Please treat with compassion and dignity. Thank you.
Name__________________________________Age_________ Address____________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ Telephone_______________________Birthday____________ Social Security #______________Blue Cross #_____________ Blue Shield #_____________Other Med Ins #_____________ Is on SSI?_________Is on SSDI?________Other?__________ Eye Color______Hair Color_________Skin______________ Blood Type_________Eyeglasses?_______ Height_______________Weight__________________ Tatoos?Other Identifying Marks_______________________ Military/VA Status?__________________________________ Current Primary Diagnosis____________________________ Secondary Diagnosis__________________________________ Name of Commanding Officer where patient lives______________ Name of Community Officer where patient lives_________________________ Precinct Phone Number______________________________ Name of Doctor______________________________________ Doctor's Phone Number_______________________________ Name of Hospital____________________________________ Current Medicines and Dosages________________________ ___________________________________________________ Suicidal?_____________Violent?________________________ Date of Last Hospitalization_________How Long?________ Date of Last Crisis____________________________________ Allergies?________________Hi Blood Pressure?__________ Name of outpatient program___________________________ Number of outpatient program________________________ Name of Case/Social Worker__________________________ Number of Case/Social Worker________________________ In Emergency Contact________________________________ Relationship to Patient________________________________ Address_____________________________________________ Day Phone__________________Eve. Phone____________
How to make 911 respond to your calls
(This article was based on information provided by Dr. Darwin Buschman, Chief Psychiatrist, Manhattan Mobile Crisis Intervention Services.) Individuals with neurobiological disorders ("NBD" formerly known as serious mental illnesses) are occassionaly danger to themselves, HYPERLINK "suicide.html"suicidal and/or danger to others. When this happens, you may want to call 911. It is often difficult to get 911 to respond to your calls if you need someone to come & take your MI relation to a hospital emergency room (ER). They may not believe that you really need help. And if they do send the police, the police are often reluctant to take someone for involuntary commitment. That is because cops are concerned about liability. They don't want to be sued for taking someone to the ER involuntarily. Another reason is that they must stay with the person until he or she is admitted. This can take between 2-48 hours. Cops don't want to sit in ER; sergeants don't want to take two police off the streets. Following is how you can make 911 & the police overcome their reluctance to help. When calling 911, the best way to get quick action is to say, "Violent EDP." Or "Suicidal EDP." EDP stands for Emotionally Disturbed Person. This shows the operator that you know what you're talking about. Describe the danger very specifically. "He's a danger to himself" is not as good as "This morning my son said he was going to jump off the roof." Be specific. "He's a danger to others" is not as good as "My son has just struck a neighbor for no reason." Also, give past history of violence. This is especially important if the person is not acting up. Again, be specific. "Every time my son gets psychotic, he has hurt himself. Last spring, he cut his wrists. I think he's going to do it again." When the police come, they need compelling evidence that the person is a danger to self or others before they can involuntarily take him or her to ER for evaluation. If the person stops acting out by the time police arrive, this can be difficult. Again, give specific recent examples of danger.
Realize that you & the cops are at cross purposes.
You want them to take someone to the hospital. They don't want to do it. You need to get on common ground with the cops to gain their cooperation. Say, "Officer, I understand your reluctance. Let me spell out for you the problems & the danger. I understand that if you take my son to the ER involuntarily, you'll have to wait with him until the doctors make a decision on whether to admit. I also understand your concern about litigation if you take him involuntarily. Therefore, why don't we work together so my son goes voluntarily." Cops will often change their attitude dramatically if you say this. If a person goes voluntarily, the cops don't have to stay in the ER. They don't have to use handcuffs. If a person goes involuntarily, they go the same way, except in handcuffs. This can often be used to convince a person to go voluntarily. You can say, " I know you don't want to go, but I think you need to go." The cops can say, "You're going to go one way or another, cuffs or no cuffs." Usually the person will go voluntarily when faced with this choice. Once the person is taken to the ER, cops leave. So it's a good idea to have a family member accompany the patient. Let the ER security guard, triage nurse, & others know that the person is MI & a danger to self or others. When you go to ER, make sure you have the "How to Prepare for Emergencies" form that is in this newsletter (Note: This is a form with the name, address, SS#, Med history, current med, diagnosis, name and number of doctor, name and number of next of kin, insurance, etc. In otherwords, all the info you would be asked in an emergency). 911 should be first resort in an immediate emergency, & the last resort when it's not. If your family member needs help, not necessarily hospitalization, try Mobile Crisis Intervention Services. While AMI/FAMI is not suggesting you do this, the fact is that some families have learned to 'turn over the furniture' before calling the police. Many police require individuals with neurobiological disorders to be imminently dangerous before treating the person against their will. If the police see furniture disturbed they will lusually conclude that the person is imminently dangerous. Read How and why to HYPERLINK "../advcacy/invol.html"change involuntary treatment laws in your state.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT WHICH MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR US TO PROVIDE THIS INFORMATION TO THOSE WHO COULD BENEFIT FROM IT.
NAMI/ NYC (formerly AMI/FAMI) does not endorse any medicines or treatments. This info is a public service as part of our efforts to educate and help others affected by these disorders. Do not rely on it. Consult your doctor before making any decisions. HYPERLINK "../AMIFAMI%20Description.html"NAMI/NYC is a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of people with neurobiolgical disorders ("NBD", formerly known as 'mental' illness) through education, advocacy, support, and research. If this has been useful to you, HYPERLINK "../AMIFAMI%20Description.html" \l "anchor1400327"PLEASE JOIN US. Send a deductable contribution of $30 (or more) to NAMI/NYC, 432 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016 to get on our mailing list or call (212) 684-3AMI. To join chapter outside NYS: 1 800 950 NAMI. This was downloaded from http://www.schizophrenia.com/ami
Families Helping Families is what NAMI/NYC is all about. Thank you for helping us help others.
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AMI/FAMI thanks Brian Chiko of HYPERLINK "http://www.schizophrenia.com/"schizophrenia.com for this space and his encouragment and guidance. Posted by D.J. Jaffe HYPERLINK "../DJ.html"firstname.lastname@example.org