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When Patients with Mental Illness Are Pushed to Live Alone, Serious Injury or Death Can Follow

JACKSON, Mississippi. A New York Times investigative report has found that some individuals who were placed in a pilot program to live alone were pushed into solitary living arrangements before they were ready. While many disability and mental health advocates support the right of the mentally ill to live alone and independently, sending a seriously ill person off to live on their own too soon can have devastating consequences. Imagine if a hospital released a patient while he or she was having a heart attack or an asthma attack. Releasing a mental health patient in crisis too soon can have similarly devastating results.

The Times reports that some individuals who were placed in independent housing died. Others fell ill and needed additional assistance. Of course, some patients thrive when given the opportunity to live on their own. This is where careful medical observation and good medical treatment can make all the difference. The treatment of mental illness should be no different in quality than the treatment for other conditions like heart disease or cancer. If a doctor released a heart attack patient from the hospital too soon, and the patient died, the hospital and doctor could be held accountable. The same should be true if mental health doctors and professionals give mental health patients the go ahead to go home too soon.

According to the Times, in New York alone, anywhere from 25% to 50% of mental health patients sent to live on their own either passed away or had to return to a group home or institution. Yet, when patients are placed in group homes, they often don't receive any better treatment. When it comes to seeking proper group home care for a patient with mental illness, families are often left with the burden of finding a good home and paying the accompanying bills. 

If your loved one is being released from a hospital, psychiatric unit, or rehabilitation facility, it is important that you understand your options. While the desire might be to help your loved one become independent, sometimes transitional options are best. According to U.S. News & World Report, individuals who are struggling with mental illness should contact their local NAMI branch, which may be able to connect individuals with social services and provide additional local resources about rights and options. 

If you or a loved one was hurt in a nursing home or was harmed because you believe he or she was released from care prematurely, you may be entitled to seek damages for your loved one's injuries and losses. The Bowling Law Firm are medical malpractice lawyers in Jackson, Mississippi who believe that all patients should receive a high standard of care. This means that doctors should only release patients from care when it is appropriate to do so. If you have questions about an injury you have suffered, you may have rights. Reach out to the Bowling Law Firm today to learn more. 

The Bowling Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation 

1615 Poydras Street, Suite 1050 

New Orleans, Louisiana, 70112 

Phone: 504-613-4561 

Toll Free: 877-757-3539

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