This poor old man with dementia was in a fist fight with another resident.  So the staff tried to commit him to the psychiatric hospital. I got the same basic story from both the patient and the staff.  Apparently, another resident went into his room, and the patient was afraid that he was being attacked, so he took care of the situation and fought back.

I felt bad for the little old guy, but was more irritated at the nursing home staff.  There is a misconception that all they have to do is fill out the committment papers, and it’s a done deal…the patient gets admitted to the psych hospital against their will.

It’s basically the same as putting someone in prison, and has legal ramifications that are similar.

The problem was, that this wasn’t a psychiatric problem, it was a medical problem and a social one.  His aggressive behavior is part of his dementia.  Couple that with an ex-boxer resident walking into his room, and sure enough, he’ll fight back.

I declined the involuntary committment and sent the patient back with instructions that the staff is required to keep other residents from wandering into his room.  I mean, it’s the only right he has left…his right to privacy.