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Most Recent Consumer / Patient Rights

DRW Releases Children’s Day Treatment Death Report

On December 2nd, 2008 DRW released its report entitled “A Tragic Result of a Failure to Act – the Death of Angellika Arndt” detailing the events surrounding the asphyxiation death of seven year-old Angellika Arndt, who died in 2006 as the result of an inappropriate use of physical restraint and seclusion in a state-licensed children’s day treatment program in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. This report was delivered to the Secretaries of the Departments of Health Services, Children and Families and the Governor. DRW hopes that the lessons learned from Angie’s tragic death will translate into action toward increased use of positive behavioral supports, a decrease in the use of seclusion and restraint with children and a prohibition of the use of restraints that have the potential to cause serious injury or death, as well as changes in the provision and oversight of day treatment services for children in the state of Wisconsin. DRW believes that the Department has not taken sufficient steps to protect children from inappropriate use of seclusion and restraint, and has urged the Department to declare a moratorium on the use of the type of restraint that resulted in Angie’s death, finalize a plan to provide training on ways to reduce seclusion and restraint use in children’s programs, and review the use of children’s day treatment to assure it is appropriate and properly regulated and funded. These and other recommendations are detailed in the report.

To download a copy of the report: A Tragic Result of a Failure to Act

Rights & Reality II

An Action Guide to the Rights of People with Disabilities in Wisconsin

The primary focus of this guide is to explain the basic legal rights and protections afforded people living in Wisconsin who have a disability. It is not a resource manual that provides complete descriptions of the various services and supports available to people with disabilities.

Descriptions of programs, funding sources, and agencies are intentionally limited. The degree of detail provided is governed by the amount needed to put the legal issues into context. However, most chapters direct the reader to a resource that can provide more in-depth information about a support, service, program, or agency. The Additional Resources Appendix is also intentionally brief and includes primarily statewide or regional legal services, advocacy groups, and disability (not direct service) organizations. 2001

Spiral Manual: 400 pages. $15.00 for consumers and families. $20.00 for others.

CD-ROM version: key word search capability; increase screen image size to 800%; can be run on Windows or Macintosh platforms; print directly from CD-ROM. $15.00 for consumers and families. $20.00 for others.

Click here to order Rights & Reality 2

Or contact us by email at or by phone at (608) 267-0214 / (800) 928-8778 / TTY: (888) 758-6049

Or click below to download individual chapters:

How to Use this Guide

Rights and Values in the 21st Century

Becoming an Effective Advocate

Social Security Disability Insurance & Supplemental Security Income

Medicaid and Badgercare

Medicare Program

Health Insurance Risk Sharing Plan

Private Health Insurance & HMOs

Insurance Discrimination

Assistive Technology

Birth to three

Special Education

2006 Update of Special Education Chapter

Family Support Program

Child Care for Children with Special Needs

W2 and Related Programs

Integrated Services for Youth with Mental Health Needs

Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice

Supported Parenting

Community Options Program

Medicaid Waiver & Home and Community Based Services

Family Care

Partnership Program


Vocational Rehabilitation

Housing Resources and Strategies

Rights of Consumers of Disability Related Services

Rights in Residential Settings

Voting, Holding Office, and Jury Duty

Fair Housing

Access to Transportation

Wisconsin Fair Employment Act

Driver Licenses and Parking Privileges

Recreational Licenses

Services for People with Sensory Impairments

Service Animals

Independent Living Centers

Abuse and Neglect of Vulnerable Adults

Americans with Disabilities Act Title 1

Americans with Disabilities Act Title 2

Americans with Disabilities Act Title 3


Chapter 55: Wisconsin’s Guardianship and Protective Placement statute

Civil Commitment and Voluntary Treatment

Forensic Mental Health Commitments

Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Correctional Settings

Additional Resources Appendix

Financial Independence: What you can expect from Payeeships

What is a Representative Payee?

A representative payee is someone assigned by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to help a person who receives Social Security or SSI manage their money. This happens when a person with a mental or physical disability is determined to be incapable of handling their money in their best interests.

Who can be a payee?

A payee can be a social service agency, a relative, or another person who is approved by SSA. Under the Wisconsin patients’ rights law, an agency or facility can act as a payee only under certain circumstances: when the consumer or their guardian gives written informed consent for this service or when another suitable payee cannot be found.

Click here to read the rest of Financial Independence: What you can expect from Payeeships »

Patient Rights and the Grievance Procedure

What are “Patient Rights”?

According to Wisconsin law, “patient rights” apply to any individual who is receiving services for mental illness, developmental disability, or alcohol or drug abuse. These rights cover people who are voluntary patients, involuntary patients, forensic patients, people who are in community treatment programs, people who are in hospitals or residential facilities, people who are private pay, meaning their own insurance is paying for their care, or people whose care is being paid for by a state or county agency. Patient rights come from Sec. 51.61 of the Wisconsin Statutes and Chapter HFS 94 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code.

Treatment rights include the right to prompt and adequate treatment in the least restrictive environment, the right to give informed consent for treatment and medication and the right to not be unduly subjected to seclusion or restraints.

Click here to read the rest of Patient Rights and the Grievance Procedure »

Victims & Survivors of Domestic Violence Who Use Service Animals

Many domestic violence and sexual assault agencies have questions about addressing requests for service animals as a reasonable accommodation or modification for program participants with disabilities. As part of Wisconsin’s Violence Against Women with Disabilities Project, Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW), Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault (WCASA) and Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WCADV) worked together to create this fact sheet and sample policies. We hope that you will find our suggestions helpful and will use the sample policies provided as a template to develop your own best practices. November 2006

click here to download Victims & Survivors of Domestic Violence Who Use Service Animals

The Fifth Standard for Civil Commitment

Prior to the enactment of the fifth standard legislation (1995 Wisconsin Act 292), there were four standards by which a person could be considered “dangerous” enough to be involuntarily committed to receive treatment for mental illness. The “fifth standard” adds another category to this list.

Click here to read the rest of The Fifth Standard for Civil Commitment »

Advanced Directives

A guide to creating a document to spell out your wishes for physical and mental health care should you become unable to make those decisions yourself.

Click here to download Advanced Directives