There may have come a time when you tried to get help for your loved one when they were in an episode and refused treatment. If they did NOT have a signed Medical Release Form on file, then you probably found yourself against a brick wall.
This can also happen if you have an older teenager (18 or older) living with you. They are legally considered an “adult” and able to make their own decisions, including those having to do with their medical and psychiatric care.
Without a signed Medical Release Form (called by different names – check with your state), you are unable to get medical or psychiatric care for your loved one or teenager without their consent. This means that, should they go into a bipolar episode, you cannot put them into the hospital involuntarily, no matter how much they need to be there.
This also means that you are not allowed to discuss your loved one’s condition with their doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist over the phone. No matter how many messages you leave, they are not allowed to call you back; as, by law, they are not allowed to speak to you about your loved one.
You must get a signed Medical Release Form from your loved one – while they are NOT in a bipolar episode – which you can then keep on file in each of their medical and mental health professional’s offices.
This way, should they go into an episode, you are allowed to speak to their doctor, psychiatrist, and therapist, and to get them the help they need.
Should it be necessary for them to go to the hospital during a bipolar episode, the best thing would be for them to go voluntarily; however, with a signed Medical Release Form, you will still be able to admit them (with their doctor’s help).
You should be able to get sample forms of these forms from your loved one’s doctor’s office; however, they are also readily available on the Internet as well.