Outpatient commitment in mental health services from a municipal view

Int J Law Psychiatry. Mar-Apr 2020;69:101550. doi: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2020.101550. Epub 2020 Mar 21.


Background: Outpatient commitment (OC) is a legal decision for compulsory mental health care when the patient stays in his or her own home. Municipal health-care workers have a key role for patients with OC decision, but little is known about how the legislation system with OC works from the municipality's point of view.

Method: The present study has a quantitative descriptive design using an electronic questionnaire sent to health-care workers in the municipalities that participated. The study included health-care workers from the mental health services in two counties in Norway who have experience with psychosis and OC decisions.

Results: There were 230 people who received the questionnaire. The sample consisted of various health professionals from both small and large municipalities.The results show which tasks they have in follow-up of patients in the municipalities.

Conclusion: From the municipality's point of view, there are no significant differences in follow-up for patients with or without an OC decision, apart from conversations about medication. An individual plan is rarely used to facilitate follow-up, although this is the statutory right of patients with OC decisions. The health-care workers lack knowledge and education about the OC scheme. The cooperation between municipalities and the specialist health-care services is not clearly defined.

Keywords: Coercion in mental health care; Collaboration in mental; Community treatment order; Consent competence.; Health care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cities
  • Commitment of Mentally Ill / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Community Health Services / standards*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services / standards*
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Psychotic Disorders / therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires