Children's rights in psychiatry (0-14 years)
Information for parents of a child (0-14 years) who is receiving psychiatric treatment
With this web page, we in Central Denmark Region’s psychiatric services wish to provide information about your rights as the parent of a child who is receiving psychiatric treatment. We hope the page will provide you with answers to the questions that may arise in connection with your treatment.
You are always welcome to contact the Patient Office in Central Denmark Region if you need advice about your rights.
Who can help you?
Your child will be assigned a contact from the department/section to which he/she is attached. We will issue a contact card with the contact’s name and telephone number.
Your contact will help provide continuity of treatment and will assist you and your child in getting answers to any questions.
The Patient Office
At the Patient Office, you can obtain guidance and advice about your child’s rights as a patient. The Patient Office can also help you file a complaint if there are matters with which you are dissatisfied.
The Patient Office is independent of the Region in the specific guidance it gives you and your child as a patient. The Patient Office staff have a duty of confidentiality and will not contact hospital departments etc. without your consent.
If, during hospitalisation, your child is subjected to force, a patient adviser will be assigned to him/her. Examples of forced intervention are compulsory admission, deprivation of freedom or forced treatment to which you as parent has not consented.
The patient adviser must visit you and your child as soon as possible and no later than 24 hours after force was used, followed by visits at least once a week.
The patient adviser will guide you on everything connected with admission, stay and treatment. The adviser can also help you file a complaint if you need to.
An interpreter can be used if necessary in order for you and/or your child to understand the information you are given in connection with your child’s treatment.
The staff assess whether an interpreter is necessary and ensure that an interpreter is booked.
You will not have to pay for the provision of an interpreter.
Right to information about your child's illness and treatment
If you have parental custody of your child, you are entitled to receive information about your child’s state of health, illness and treatment options. You must also receive information about risks and possible side effects of the treatment and about the consequences if you do not wish your child to have treatment. You also have the right to obtain information about the outcome of the treatment.
Your child's medical records
Right to information
If you are not the custodial parent, you have the right as parent to obtain information about your child’s condition on request. You may be informed orally or in writing, but you do not have a right of access to documents. There may be circumstances in which you can be refused information. If this happens, you can complain to the Danish Agency for Patient Complaints.
Access to documents
If you are the custodial parent, you generally have a right of access to your child’s medical records. This means that you have the right to see the medical records and obtain a copy of them if needed.
In special cases, decisive considerations for the interests of the child or others may justify a limitation of the right of access to documents.
It is not possible to view medical records of children aged under 15 at sundhed.dk as this requires a digital signature.
The medical records may be difficult to understand, as they are a tool for healthcare professionals. If you so wish, the staff can help explain the contents to you.
Medical records include information about:
- Course of the illness
- Results of examinations
- Correspondence with your GP, public authorities and possibly also with next-of-kin
If your child is admitted
If your child is admitted, the staff must prepare a treatment plan within seven days. A provisional treatment plan is typically prepared within 24 hours. A provisional treatment plan is a plan with observational diagnoses or brief diagnostic considerations as well as examinations and treatment. A treatment plan must have been prepared within one week.
If possible, the staff will work with you concerning your treatment plan. You will be given a copy of the treatment plan, unless you do not want one.
If your child receives treatment without being hospitalised (outpatient treatment)
If your child receives outpatient treatment – i.e. without being hospitalised – the staff will ensure that a treatment plan is prepared at the latest in connection with your second consultation.
If possible, the staff will work with you and your child concerning the treatment plan. You will be given a copy of the treatment plan, unless you do not want one.
Self-determination and informed consent
The person in charge of your child’s treatment, for example your child’s GP, must provide you with in-depth information about your child’s illness and treatment. You must also be given information concerning the consequences if you do not want your child’s treatment to be commenced. This is what is meant by informed consent: you as a parent must be provided with information before you give your consent.
Consent can be withdrawn at any time.
However, there are exceptions to the requirement for your informed consent.
- If your child is in a life-threatening situation requiring immediate treatment and informed consent cannot be obtained from you, the child will be treated without consent.
- Under certain special conditions, the Danish Psychiatric Care Act (Psykiatriloven) allows for treatment to be commenced without your informed consent.
- The Danish Psychiatric Act also allows other use of force. Forced intervention is an intervention without your consent. However, force can only be used once everything possible has been done to obtain your consent and always based on a principle of the least necessary means. This means that the staff will only use the force that is absolutely necessary for your child’s treatment. Forced intervention may, for example, be compulsory admission, compulsory detention or fixation.
Strict conditions apply to the use of force, and patients who are subjected to force have special rights, for example quick access to complain and assignment of a patient adviser who will guide and assist the patient, including in connection with any complaints. See the previous ‘Patient adviser’ section on this page.
Duty of confidentiality and disclosure and obtainment of information
The staff are subject to a duty of confidentiality. As a general rule, they must not pass on information about your child’s health or other personal details without your consent. The duty of confidentiality also applies in relation to relatives.
In connection with your treatment, healthcare professionals may obtain electronic information about your child if necessary as part of the current treatment and disclose information to other healthcare professionals who are to continue the treatment. If your child is in a course of treatment and needs to be treated by several persons or at different places of treatment, the healthcare staff will disclose the relevant information.
As custodial parent, you may request that staff refrain from obtaining and/or disclosing information about your child.
Read more about duty of confidentiality and disclosure and obtainment of information on sundhed.dk
You can complain to the Danish Agency for Patient Complaints if you think that health information has been wrongfully disclosed or obtained.
Travel to and from hospital
Watch a video on how the transportation scheme works and what the advantages and disadvantages may be in arranging your own transportation and receiving an allowance.
Gå ind på adressen øverst på siden for at se videoen.
The general rule is that you and your child must make your own way to and from the hospital. Lack of access to public transport does not automatically entitle you to transportation and/or a travel allowance.
In special cases, you may be able to get help with your travel costs or be transported using Central Region Denmark’s taxi scheme or by ambulance if your state of health makes this necessary.
You can read more about the transportation and travel allowance conditions here.
What is force?
In special cases, the use of force against psychiatric patients is necessary for the sake of the patient himself/herself or other persons. Force may be deprivation of liberty and compulsory treatment.
According to the Danish Psychiatric Care Act (Psykiatriloven), there is no use of force in those cases in which the patient is under the age of 15 and informed consent has been obtained from the custodial parent.
As the custodial parent, you can consent to the treatment on the minor’s behalf even if your child objects to this. There is coercion in relation to a minor under 15 years of age in the situations in which there is informed parental consent for the procedure, while there is force in situations in which the parents have not granted informed consent.
When can force be used?
Force must not be used until every effort has been made to get you and your child to participate voluntarily.
Force must be used as gently as possible, with the greatest possible regard for your child as a patient, so that he or she does not experience unnecessary humiliation or inconvenience.
If your child is subjected to force
Minors under the age of 15 for whom the parents have consented to the treatment are not covered by the legal safeguards under the Danish Psychiatry Care Act (appointment of patient adviser, notification, mandatory re-evaluation and right to complain). However, you must be offered a follow-up consultation after the intervention. In addition, the senior hospital physician in the department is obliged to report any interventions against children under the age of 15, regardless of whether the intervention has been done based on parental consent.
Minors under the age of 15 for whom the parents have not consented to the treatment are covered by the legal safeguards under the Danish Psychiatric Care Act, such as appointment of patient adviser and right to complain. The patient adviser advises and assists you with any complaints to the Patient Complaints Board and the courts.
The rules on the use of force in psychiatry are laid down in the Danish Psychiatric Care Act.
Free choice of hospital and right to rapid examination and diagnosis
Free choice of hospital
As parents of a child who is a patient, you are basically free to choose from any of the public hospitals throughout Denmark. However, a hospital department may refuse patients if that department has significantly longer waiting times than other similar departments.
What to do
If you would like to have your child attend another public hospital, you can contact the department to which your child has been referred. They will then make sure to send the referral to the hospital you have chosen.
At mitsygehusvalg.dk, you can see the waiting times in public hospitals and you can contact the Patient Office, if you need help.
Read more about the right to choose another public hospital on sundhed.dk.
Waiting times for treatment can be found on the Danish Health Authority’s website www.venteinfo.dk
Extended free choice of hospital
If your child has to wait for more than 30 days for psychiatric examination and treatment, you are entitled to extended free choice of hospital. This means that you can choose to have your child examined or treated at the private hospitals with which the regions have an agreement. However, this only applies if the waiting time for the private treatment services is shorter than the waiting time in the psychiatric wards in Central Denmark Region.
Read more about free hospital choice on the Ministry of Health's website.
Read more about the right to use a private hospital on sundhed.dk.
Waiting times for treatment can be found on the Danish Health Authority's website www.venteinfo.dk
Right to rapid examination and diagnosis
As a patient, your child is entitled to be examined for what is wrong with him/her (receive a diagnosis) within 30 days if medically possible.
If it is not possible to make a diagnosis for your child within this deadline, you must be given an examination and diagnosis plan. The plan must include information on the time and place of the examinations the hospital expects will be needed to make a diagnosis for your child.
If your child cannot be examined and diagnosed in a hospital in your region of residence, you can choose to have your child attend a private hospital (extended free choice of hospital).
If something goes wrong (unintentional incidents)
If errors have been made in connection with examination or care, or if your child has been exposed to a tangible risk of injury, this constitutes an unintentional incident.
You and your child can share the experience by using the website www.dpsd.dk. Here, you can enter your experience in a database of unintentional incidents. Your report will be sent to the department at the hospital where the incident occurred. The department will then investigate what they can do to prevent anything like that happening again. Please note that the department is under no obligation to reply to you.
If healthcare professionals, paramedics etc. are involved in an unintentional incident, they are obliged to report it. On the Danish Patient Safety Authority's website, you can read more about how reports of unintentional incidents are used to improve patient safety.
How to complain
If there are matters that you are not satisfied with concerning your child’s treatment, you can initially contact the staff or the department management. You can also contact the Hospital Management in Psychiatry Central Denmark Region.
Read more at our website about how to complain.
Here you can find information about the Psychiatric Patients' Complaints Board.
The Patient Compensation Association's website has information on the public compensation scheme for patients.
On the website, you can search in all acts and regulations (executive orders, circulars etc.) issued by the ministries and the central state authorities as well as documents from the Danish Parliament (Folketinget).
The Danish Health Authority's website, where you can find information about duty of confidentiality etc.
The Danish Patient Safety Authority's website.
The Danish Agency for Patient Complaints' website contains information on patient complaints, compensation and unintentional incidents.
The Ministry of Health's website contains information on patients' rights etc.
sundhed.dk is the national health service's online system.
You can also find other relevant information via the various associations for users and relatives.
Brug ikke informationen på denne side til at stille dine egne diagnoser, og følg kun instruktionerne i vejledningen, hvis hospitalet har henvist dig til siden.