What is Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT)?
Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT), also known as involuntary civil commitment, is a program designed to deliver comprehensive community-based treatment to individuals with persistent and serious mental illness (SMI). Individuals receiving AOT services participate in a civil court process. To be considered for AOT, individuals must meet specific criteria such as a history of non-compliance with voluntary treatment for their mental health issues, as well as failed attempts in less-restrictive treatment programs. Individuals participating in the AOT program must be able to safely live in the community with the support of comprehensive community-based mental health services. Goals of AOT (involuntary civil commitment) include: preventing harmful outcomes such as relapse resulting in hospitalization, incarceration, or trauma; supporting individuals in maintaining stability and achieving personal goals; and assisting individuals to attain positive relationships with family, friends, and other natural supports.
AOT is not a crisis service. For crisis services, please call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.
What are the specific criteria for an individual to be considered for AOT?
On July 1, 2013, the Nevada State Legislature approved Assembly Bill 287, granting approval, under special circumstances, for involuntary court-ordered admission to a program of community-based or outpatient services (commonly referred to as AOT). Specific criteria for an individual to be considered for the NNAMHS AOT program include:
- a. The person must reside in Washoe County, Nevada;
- b. The person must be 18 years of age or older;
- c. The person has a history of noncompliance with treatment for mental illness;
- d. The person is capable of surviving safely in the community in which he or she resides with available supervision;
- e. The court determines that, based on the person’s history of treatment for mental illness, the person needs to be admitted to a program of community-based or outpatient services to prevent further disability or deterioration of the person which is likely to result in harm to himself or herself or others;
- f. The current mental status of the person or nature of the person’s illness limits or negates his or her ability to make an informed decision to seek treatment for mental illness voluntarily or to comply with recommended treatment for mental illness;
- g. The program of community-based or outpatient services is the least restrictive treatment which is in the best of interest of the person; and
- h. The court has approved a plan of treatment developed for the person.
How are individuals referred to the NNAMHS AOT program?
Often referrals will be initiated by licensed mental health professionals at Dini-Townsend Hospital at NNAMHS. Referrals may also come from other inpatient psychiatric facilities, outpatient treatment providers, and law enforcement. [Link to Referral Form here]
To refer an individual to NNAMHS AOT, please:
1. complete the NNAMHS Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) Referral Form; and
2. email the completed form, with the word “SECURE” in the Subject line to:
a. AOT Referral NNAMHS (State email); or
b. AOTReferralNorth@health.nv.gov (outside referrals).
A member of the AOT Team will review the Referral and contact the referring source within three (3) business days.
How long is a person committed to AOT? What services does AOT provide?
A civil court can grant an AOT order for up to six (6) months. Prior to the order expiring, the AOT Team may determine ongoing need and benefits of the AOT program and apply to the court for continued services. If agreed upon by the courts, the order for AOT may be renewed for another six (6) months.
NNAMHS AOT services include: Intensive case management; psychiatric services; medication management and support; life skills, job, and vocational support and development; peer and professionally led recovery groups; benefit and housing support.
What happens if an individual receiving AOT services does not comply with their treatment plan/the court order?
AOT cannot force an individual to take medications. If an individual participating in AOT is not complying with any aspect of their treatment plan, the AOT Team will make every attempt to positively re-engage that person. If an individual is unable to positively re-engage in the AOT program and is at risk of harm, the AOT Team may request a court order for involuntary transportation for emergency services, including inpatient psychiatric hospitalization.