Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT)
Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT, formerly known as involuntary outpatient commitment (IOC), allows courts to order certain individuals with brain disorders to comply with treatment while living in the community.
Assisted Outpatient treatment was initially proposed in the early 1980's by families of individuals with the most serious mental illnesses as a way to help their loved ones. Individuals with disorders like schizophrenia often need medicines to enable them to control their own thoughts and behavior. But sometimes, they don't recognize they are ill ("Anosognosia") and therefore see no need to be in treatment.
These individuals often decompensate; commit suicide; become mentally ill homeless; end up in jail; or, on rare occasions, are involved in acts of violence because of mental illness. Family members and caregivers were not allowed to intervene until 'after' the individual "became danger to self or others". Many felt the law should prevent dangerousness, rather than require it.
Once the family member deteriorated to the point of dangerousness, the only thing police could do was involuntarily commit the individual to inpatient hospitalization.
Families believed that committing someone to receive services on an outpatient basis was kinder, more humane and less expensive than inpatient. In addition, it could prevent the person from deteriorating in the first place.
Assisted Outpatient Treatment is an important advance.
The only service the patient must be mandated to accept is case management. All other services, including medication compliance, are the discretion of courts. The law includes strict eligibility criteria and numerous consumer protections. Research shows Assisted Outpatient Treatment:
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