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DRW participates in Appellate Court case stopping Mental Health commitment of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease

DRW submitted an Amicus brief in the Appellate Court in Helen E.F. v. Fond du Lac County, advocating against the inclusion of individuals with only a diagnosis Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia “with behaviors” as subject to commitment under the state law goverening involuntary mental health commitments (Chapter 51). The court agreed with this position, holding that Alzheimer’s disease is not a qualifying mental illness for the purposes of comminment standards and people with only a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or similar types of dementia are not the proper subjects for treatment under Chapter 51. This case could have far reaching implications for nursing homes and other residential placements which account for the majority of emergency detentions initiated against Alzheimer’s patients. Additionally, this ruling requires changes in emergency detention procedures for both law enforcement and inpatient psychiatric facilities. Fond du Lac County has 30 days to decide whether to ask the Wisconsin Supreme Court to review this decision, if it does, DRW will ask the Court to participate at that level as well. Click here to view the article: