Rights of Recipients of Mental Health Services;
Part B - II. Privacy and Humane Treatment Environment

A. Recipients have the right to a humane psychological and physical environment within the treatment facility.

B. Each recipient has the right to be treated with courtesy and with full respect for his or her individuality and dignity, and to recognition that his or her personality, needs and aspirations are not determinable on the basis of a psychiatric diagnosis.

C. Recipients have the right to have their privacy assured and protected and to preserve the basic rhythm of their lives to the greatest extent possible in light of their treatment needs.

D. The treatment facility shall be designed to afford recipients comfort and safety, shall promote dignity and independence and shall be designed to make a positive contribution to the efficient attainment of treatment goals.

E. Each inpatient or residential facility shall provide at least:

  1. nutritious food in adequate quantities;
  2. access to or provision of adequate professional medical care;
  3. a level of sanitation, ventilation and light that meets health standards;
  4. a reasonable amount of space per person in sleeping areas;
  5. a reasonable opportunity for physical exercise and recreation, including access to outdoor activities;
  6. an area for private conversation with other recipients and family and friends; if all designated areas are in use, staff shall make other reasonable arrangements to assure the recipient's and visitor's comfort and privacy;
  7. an area for private telephone conversations;
  8. areas that assure privacy for personal hygiene, counseling and physical examinations;
  9. a secure and accessible storage area of adequate size to accommodate the recipient's personal belongings;
  10. opportunities for appropriate involvement in community activities, subject to the requirements of Section III, Individualized Treatment and Discharge Plan in Inpatient Settings;
  11. common areas with space and equipment sufficient to permit patients comfortably to socialize, relax, or engage in leisure time activity. To reduce the chance that recipients engaged in activities will intrude upon others not similarly engaged, such areas shall be equipped so that intrinsically incompatible activities are not performed in the same areas; and
  12. schedule of available therapeutic, rehabilitative and recreational activities to each recipient. The schedule shall be updated monthly or more frequently as necessary.

F. Recipients have the right to be free from abuse, exploitation, or neglect.

  1. Recipients shall not be subjected to humiliation or verbal abuse.
  2. Recipients shall not be subjected, to physical abuse, and corporal punishment is expressly prohibited.
  3. Recipients shall not be subjected to exploitation or neglect.
  4. Any allegation of abuse, exploitation or neglect shall be immediately reported to the Chief Administrator of the facility or agency, to the Office of Advocacy and, in the case of an adult recipient who does not have mental retardation, to the Department of Human Services pursuant to the Adult Protective Act (22 M.R.S.A. Chapter 958-A).

G. Simple, understandable written rules setting the limits of recipients' behavior required for the protection of the group and individuals shall be established and made known to the recipients.

H. Personal Property

  1. Except as provided below, recipients have the right to retain and use personal property.
  2. The use of personal property may be limited or items held in safekeeping only when the number or use of such items infringes upon the rights of other recipients, or poses a safety risk.
  3. Each recipient shall have the right to manage his or her own personal financial affairs. A recipient's funds and access to funds shall not be limited unless:
    a. the restrictions are a part of a plan of treatment pursuant to informed consent to treatment;
    b. a conservator, guardian or representative payee has been appointed
    c. court ordered restrictions exist
    d. the restriction is to safeguard a recipient's assets during the initiation and pendency of any protective proceedings.
  4. Any limitation on personal property or financial affairs shall be documented by a physician and receipts or all money or material held in safekeeping shall be given to the recipient or his or her guardian.
  5. The facility or agency shall bear responsibility for any money or material held in safekeeping.

I. Every recipient has the right to be free from unnecessary searches of the person, of personal space or of common areas. A search shall only be conducted when staff have a reasonable belief that misappropriated articles are present or that certain items that would endanger the health or safety of a particular recipient or other recipients are present. Every search and the reasons therefor shall be documented.