I've searched the Nevada statutes and could not find an answer. I haven't asked everyone in my facility as I'm not keen on being marked as anything (even if for a valid reason). I have asked a number of people and, no, they do not know the answer. Figured I'd ask here first before going to the nursing board, dept. of mental health, etc.
Yes, I've worked as a psych nurse both privately and publicly in NV for 6 years. Why don't I know the answer? Ninety-nine percent of my admissions have gone along with the process rather easily. There have been a few instances that escalated to the point of calling a house sup/doc/admin immediately and those patients were discharged quickly. Still, that didn't answer my question of whether we were, up until that point (after the pt. requested AMA), falsely imprisoning them.
Knowing the legal requirements, etc. is important. I agree. In this case, I would assume with false imprisonment being both a tort and a felony, that the law would be fairly identical or at least extremely similar across the entire country.
I am very well-versed in our state's process of initiating a legal hold, certifying it, petitioning patients for court, etc. Most nurses in my facility come to me when they have questions regarding this process. But let's not act like every nurse knows every law. This particular, nuanced question was apparently never important enough to be taught in nursing school (in NV), at various orientations/in-services, etc.
Not a big fan of being accused of some sort of negligence for seeking out the answer to a question that no one seems to know the answer to.
Again, I assume a patient would have every claim to false imprisonment in the same circumstance nationwide. Given that, why can't anyone here answer completely in the affirmative? Maybe because there is confusion and we're nurses, not lawyers.
In NV, various people can initiate a legal hold (LSW, RN, MD, police officer) and it then must be certified by a psychiatrist or psychologist. I've initiated many legal holds.
We do the same as well - try everything we can to talk a patient into staying - which usually works.
I totally agree with you. Especially if you get a particularly litigious patient. I'm not touching them until I need to. But I'm also at this point not unlocking the doors. I can't imagine a jury would ever find me liable for not opening the doors in this case. I think they'd find issues with the hospital's policies and training.
Still, I'd love to have the law on my side and be able to justify any of my actions in real time.
Unless you work in a completely involuntary, locked facility, I don't think there's a difference - that's my point. I would think a voluntary patient in my hospital would have every single right (in terms of AMA) that a voluntary patient in a medical setting would. The only difference is the doors are locked. So they can't just walk out. My hunch is any lawyer worth their salt could easily make a false imprisonment claim if such a patient was not allowed to walk out of a facility for any significant amount of time.