Under the Ontario Mental Health Act, a Form 1 refers to an Application by Physician for Psychiatric Assessment, or APA.  A Form 1 allows a doctor to hold a patient in a hospital or psychiatric facility for up to 72 hours in order to complete a psychiatric assessment.  In order to sign a Form 1, the doctor must have examined the patient within the 7 day period prior to the Form 1 being signed, after which the Form 1 expires.  In addition, the doctor must find that the patient meets one of two sets of criteria, depending on whether or not they are deemed capable of consenting to treatment in a psychiatric facility within the meaning of the Health Care Consent Act

The physician’s clinical opinion can, in consideration of what is appropriate in the circumstances, be based on their own observations, or in combination with facts communicated to the physician by others (e.g. family members, friends).

Once the Form 1 has been signed, anyone can bring (or force) the person into a psychiatric facility for assessment within the 7 day period before the Form 1 expires.  Upon completion of the psychiatric assessment, the patient must either be released, or admitted as an involuntary patient, a voluntary patient or an informal patient.  Tomorrow’s blog posting will explore these options in greater detail.

Jennifer Hartman, Guest Blogger