2022 Annual Report - Individual Advocacy

2022 Annual Report - Individual Advocacy


Advocacy Victories Individual Advocacy in State Hospitals

Highlights Your Right to Dignity, Respect, and Humane Care- Transgender Rights are Patients’ Rights

DRC’s California Office of Patients’ Rights (COPR) worked with one of our clients who is transitioning to ensure they receive the services that support their needs. During the year, she lived in several Department of State Hospital (DSH) sites and experienced a lack of understanding and care from staff.

At her current hospital, she was having trouble getting items essential to her well-being and mental health recovery, including getting the right garments and toiletries. As a part of our advocacy investigation, our staff discovered a hospital policy that stated a client must have a diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria to purchase and use these items. This client did have this diagnosis from each of the other DSH sites, but this site insisted she gets re-assessed and re-diagnosed before receiving any treatment services that supported her identity.

We advocated for her and worked with the hospital, resulting in a win for this client, a change in policy for the hospital, and a victorious path for those who follow. We appreciate the bravery of this client in coming forward and they are changing some policies and practices to ensure better outcomes for others.

Your Right to the Accommodations You Need

DRC’s California Office of Patients’ Rights (COPR) received a call from a client at one of the Department of State Hospital sites stating they wanted a Braille writer to be able to write in their spare time.

DRC’s staff worked with the State Hospital staff and discovered there was one to use; however, it was only in a designated area you had to be at, and it was only accessible during certain times. DRC also found out that State Hospital staff didn’t know how to facilitate getting a Braille writer for the unit nor realize the necessity of having one for this client. Once we explained the situation, the administration understood and quickly resolved the issue by ordering additional Braille writers and placing one on the unit.

We often find that the reason for patients’ rights not being upheld is not in retaliation or the belief the client is not deserving; it is simply not knowing how to get the right upheld. We were happy to be able to get this client the right accommodations to meet their needs.