Telephone privileges

Authority Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission, Provincial Health Services Authority

Sean is a patient at a forensic psychiatric hospital. He complained his telephone access had been restricted and he was limited in who he could call and how often. He thought this was an unfair restriction on his freedom, especially since he did not know how long the restrictions would be in place.

When we spoke with the hospital, staff said that Sean’s telephone access was restricted as a result of his treatment plan. The treatment plan stated calls were restricted to lawyers, the Office of the Ombudsperson and family members. They explained that there was a no-contact list of specific individuals and organizations arising from one of Sean’s Review Board hearings. They also said that the hospital had received letters and phone calls from different agencies requesting that Sean stop communicating with them.

When we investigated, we determined that the hospital only had records of two requests for no contact from Sean in addition to the no-contact list. Therefore, we questioned whether the blanket telephone restriction was reasonable. We consulted with the hospital regarding whether they would consider limiting Sean’s telephone restrictions only to individuals and organizations who appear on the no-contact list or who specifically request no-contact from him.

The hospital agreed that telephone restrictions should only be in place when there is a no-contact order or a specific, written request from a person or organization. Therefore, the hospital revised Sean’s treatment plan so that he is restricted from phoning only those on the no-contact list or those who have requested no-contact from him. Since the hospital’s agreement to revise Sean’s treatment plan addressed our concerns, we considered the complaint to be settled and we closed our file.

Category Health
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2012
Location The Lower Mainland