TITLE 16

Health and Safety

Mental Health

CHAPTER 51. THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES

Subchapter II. Admission, Maintenance and Discharge of Patients


The Department may establish, under the direction and supervision of the Delaware Psychiatric Center, a voluntary admission procedure for the observation, study, psychiatric diagnosis and treatment of persons suffering from mental and nervous diseases.

19 Del. Laws, c. 644, §§ 1-6; Code 1915, § 2598; 36 Del. Laws, c. 243, § 1; Code 1935, § 3074; 45 Del. Laws, c. 219, § 1; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 5121; 54 Del. Laws, c. 279, § 3; 70 Del. Laws, c. 550, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 360, § 1.;

(a) Until July 1, 2013, and in conjunction with § 5122 of this title, an alleged mentally ill person shall be taken by the peace officer, with all reasonable promptness, to a medical doctor licensed to practice medicine or surgery in the State for examination. The written complaint shall be delivered to the doctor who shall, if reasonably possible, give telephonic notice of the examination to the nearest relative as shown on the complaint, unless such person has signed the complaint. If it reasonably appears to the doctor that the alleged mentally ill person is a dangerous mentally ill person, the said doctor shall so certify in writing and the alleged mentally ill person shall be transported by the peace officer or, in the sole discretion of the examining physician, by designated transport personnel to the Delaware Psychiatric Center or other hospital as defined in § 5101 of this title with all reasonable promptness and delivered to the officials of the said hospital, together with the complaint and the certificate of the examining doctor. If the examining doctor finds that the alleged mentally ill person is not a dangerous mentally ill person, the said doctor shall so certify in writing, the alleged mentally ill person shall be discharged from custody forthwith and the doctor shall forward the complaint and the doctor's certificate to the Delaware Psychiatric Center. The doctor's certificate shall set forth a description of the behavior and symptoms of the alleged mentally ill person which led the doctor to the doctor's conclusion. It shall also set forth whether or not the nearest known relative was notified of the examination. On and after July 1, 2013, this subsection ceases to have effect and, pursuant to § 5122 of this title, only a psychiatrist or credentialed mental health screener may complete the steps necessary to institute the 24-hour detention for evaluation.

(b) Until July 1, 2013, and in conjunction with § 5122 of this title, upon receiving an alleged mentally ill person at the Delaware Psychiatric Center or other hospital as defined in § 5101 of this title, the Superintendent shall detain, care for and treat as medically appropriate, the said patient for a period not to exceed 24 hours; provided, however, that this period shall be 72 hours for minors admitted in conformity with § 5135 of this title. If it appears that the nearest known relative has not received prior notice of the proceedings, the Superintendent shall, if reasonably possible, promptly give such notice. Unless the patient is discharged from the hospital within that period, then at the termination of the period the person shall be discharged unless the person is admitted or committed to the said hospital under some other provision of law. A psychiatrist designated by the Secretary of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families may conduct an independent review of a determination that a person under 18 years of age admitted to any mental health facility pursuant to this chapter is a dangerously mentally ill person. A psychiatrist designated by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services may conduct an independent review of a determination that a person 18 years of age or older admitted to any mental health facility pursuant to this chapter is a dangerously mentally ill person. On and after July 1, 2013, this subsection ceases to have effect.

(c) Until July 1, 2013, the term "dangerous mentally ill person'' means that an individual meets the criteria of either "dangerous to self'' or "dangerous to others'' as defined in § 5122 of this title.

36 Del. Laws, c. 242, § 1; Code 1935, § 3072; 42 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 2; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 5122; 55 Del. Laws, c. 229; 61 Del. Laws, c. 447, § 1; 66 Del. Laws, c. 424, § 6; 68 Del. Laws, c. 308, §§ 1-3; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 550, §§ 1, 8-10; 75 Del. Laws, c. 349, § 2; 78 Del. Laws, c. 360, § 1.;

36 Del. Laws, c. 242, § 1; Code 1935, § 3072; 42 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 2; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 5122; 55 Del. Laws, c. 229; 61 Del. Laws, c. 447, § 1; 66 Del. Laws, c. 424, § 6; 68 Del. Laws, c. 308, §§ 1-3; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 550, §§ 1, 8-10; 75 Del. Laws, c. 349, § 2; 78 Del. Laws, c. 360, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 7, § 1; repealed by 79 Del. Laws, c. 442, § 2, eff. Oct. 14, 2014.;

(a) A licensed psychiatrist or licensed independent practitioner who is credentialed and authorized by the Delaware Psychiatric Center may admit for observation, diagnosis, care and treatment any individual who is a person with an apparent mental condition or who has symptoms of a mental condition and who requests admission subject to the payment of charges for care, maintenance and support as provided in § 5127 of this title [repealed]. The Delaware Psychiatric Center may establish criteria for voluntary admission that differ from the criteria for involuntary admissions.

(b) If any applicant is under the age of 18 years, the request for admission to a designated psychiatric treatment facility shall also be signed by either of the applicant's parents, spouse or legal guardian.

(c) The attending psychiatrist or licensed independent practitioner who is appropriately credentialed and authorized by the Delaware Psychiatric Center shall discharge any voluntary patient who has recovered or whose hospitalization the attending psychiatrist determines is no longer clinically indicated.

(d) A voluntary patient who requests the patient's own discharge or whose discharge is requested, in writing, by the patient's legal guardian, parent, spouse or adult next of kin shall be discharged within 5 days from the receipt of the request, except that:

(1) If the request for discharge is made by a person other than the patient, discharge may be conditioned upon the agreement thereto of the patient;

(2) If the patient is under the age of 18 years, the patient's discharge may be conditioned upon the consent of the patient's parent, spouse or guardian; and

(3) If it has been observed and documented that the person currently admitted voluntarily is currently demonstrating behaviors believed to be dangerous to self or others and these behaviors are documented in the medical record, the attending psychiatrist may initiate involuntary commitment status as set forth in Chapter 50 of this title.

(e) A psychiatrist designated by the Secretary of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families may conduct an independent review to determine whether an applicant under 18 years of age who receives financial assistance from such Department or who is in the custody of such Department is appropriate for voluntary hospitalization. A psychiatrist designated by the Secretary of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families may conduct an independent review to determine whether a voluntary patient under 18 years of age who receives financial assistance from such Department or who is in the custody of such Department is appropriate for voluntary hospitalization.

(f) A psychiatrist designated by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services may conduct an independent review to determine whether an applicant 18 years of age or older who receives financial assistance from the Department or who is in the custody of the Department is appropriate for voluntary hospitalization. A psychiatrist designated by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services may conduct an independent review to determine whether a voluntary patient 18 years of age or older who receives financial assistance from the Department or who is in the custody of the Department is appropriate for voluntary hospitalization.

(g) Nothing contained in subsection (d) of this section shall require the discharge of a voluntary patient if within the 5-day period from receipt of the request for discharge the patient is admitted or committed to the said Psychiatric Center under some other provision of law.

(h) Notwithstanding any other section of the Delaware Code, the Director of the Department's Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health shall have the independent authority to discharge persons at the Delaware Psychiatric Center.

19 Del. Laws, c. 644, §§ 1-6; Code 1915, § 2598; 36 Del. Laws, c. 243, § 1; Code 1935, § 3074; 45 Del. Laws, c. 219, § 1; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 5123; 55 Del. Laws, c. 227; 58 Del. Laws, c. 218; 58 Del. Laws, c. 511, §§ 31, 32; 62 Del. Laws, c. 207, § 1; 66 Del. Laws, c. 424, §§ 7, 8; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 550, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 360, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 442, § 2.;

18 Del. Laws, c. 553, § 6; 19 Del. Laws, c. 125, § 1; 19 Del. Laws, c. 126; Code 1915, § 2600; 28 Del. Laws, c. 212, § 1; 37 Del. Laws, c. 189; Code 1935, § 3076; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 5127; 54 Del. Laws, c. 279, § 3; 55 Del. Laws, c. 212; 58 Del. Laws, c. 151; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 550, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 360, § 1; repealed by 79 Del. Laws, c. 442, § 2, eff. Oct. 14, 2014.;

18 Del. Laws, c. 553, § 6; 19 Del. Laws, c. 125, § 1; 19 Del. Laws, c. 126; Code 1915, § 2600; 28 Del. Laws, c. 212, § 1; 37 Del. Laws, c. 189; Code 1935, § 3076; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 5128; 57 Del. Laws, c. 228, § 6; 70 Del. Laws, c. 550, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 360, § 1; repealed by 79 Del. Laws, c. 442, § 2, eff. Oct. 14, 2014.;

16 Del. C. 1953, § 5131; 50 Del. Laws, c. 310, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 360, § 1; repealed by 79 Del. Laws, c. 442, § 2, eff. Oct. 14, 2014.;

16 Del. C. 1953, § 5132; 55 Del. Laws, c. 225, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 550, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 360, § 1; repealed by 79 Del. Laws, c. 442, § 2, eff. Oct. 14, 2014.;

16 Del. C. 1953, § 5133; 55 Del. Laws, c. 225, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 550, § 11; 73 Del. Laws, c. 41, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 327, § 210(a); 78 Del. Laws, c. 360, § 1; repealed by 79 Del. Laws, c. 442, § 2, eff. Oct. 14, 2014.;

16 Del. C. 1953, § 5134; 55 Del. Laws, c. 226; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 550, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 360, § 1; repealed by 79 Del. Laws, c. 442, § 2, eff. Oct. 14, 2014.;

16 Del. C. 1953, § 5135; 57 Del. Laws, c. 593, § 1; 64 Del. Laws, c. 467, § 6; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 550, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 41, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 285, §§ 8-10; 78 Del. Laws, c. 360, § 1; repealed by 79 Del. Laws, c. 442, § 2, eff. Oct. 14, 2014.;

66 Del. Laws, c. 424, § 9; 70 Del. Laws, c. 550, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 360, § 1; repealed by 79 Del. Laws, c. 442, § 2, eff. Oct. 14, 2014.;

68 Del. Laws, c. 308, § 4; 70 Del. Laws, c. 550, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 360, § 1; repealed by 79 Del. Laws, c. 442, § 2, eff. Oct. 14, 2014.;