Patient Rights at Western State Hospital and Eastern State Hospital

This 24-page information booklet is also available in PDF, or printer-friendly, version here.

This booklet provides information about the rights of patients who are at the adult psychiatric hospitals run by the State of Washington: Western State Hospital and Eastern State Hospital. The first section explains specific patient rights. The second section explains what a patient may do if he or she disagrees with a decision to limit or take away a right.

For quick reference, patients and their advocates may refer to the Table of Contents below, which lists specific rights and issues. Click on a topic of interest, and go to the page to read that information. Select "Go to the next page" at the bottom of each page, to read through the whole booklet.

Table of Contents



Section I:  Individual Patient Rights

1. Right to be free from abuse, neglect and harassment

2. Right to adequate care and treatment

3. Right to be informed of rights

4. Right to retain basic civil rights despite admission to the hospital

5. Right to personal privacy and sexual expression

6. Right to religious exercise

7. Right to voice concerns and be heard

8. Rights relating to treatment and care

(a) Right to participate in treatment planning and decision making

(b) Rights relating to the hospital’s level system

(c) Right to refuse antipsychotic medication, Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), or other treatment

(d) Seclusion and restraint

(e) Discharge rights

(i) Discharge planning for civil patients

(ii) Conditional release and related rights for forensic patients

9. Right to contact attorneys or advocates

10. Right to communication

(a) Mail
(b) Telephone access
(c) Visitors

11. Right to personal items

12. Financial rights

(a) Right to receive pay for employment
(b) Right to personal funds
(c) Right to receive notice regarding financial obligation for care and treatment
(d) Right to control money

13. Access to medical records

Section II:  What a patient can do when rights are taken away 

1. Talk to the treatment team

2. File an official written complaint with the hospital

3. File a complaint with the hospital’s patient advocate or abuse hotline

4. Write to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

5. Contact an attorney

(a) Northwest Justice Project (NJP)

(b) Mr. Steve Wee


(d) Department of Assigned Counsel

6. Contact other legal or oversight agencies

(a) Disability Rights Washington (DRW)

(b) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

(c) U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)

(d) The Joint Commission 

This publication was made possible by funding support from the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, SAMHSA (5X98XM005397-14).  These contents are solely the responsibility of DRW and do not necessarily represent the official views of SAMHSA.

This information is current as of: 
Tools to Help You Category: 

This information is a service of Disability Rights Washington (DRW). It provides general information as a public service only, and is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should contact an attorney. You do not have an attorney-client relationship with DRW.  If you would like more information about this topic or would like to receive this information in an alternative format call DRW at (800) 562-2702, or email [email protected].

Always advocate in a timely manner. Please be aware that there are certain time limits or deadlines to file a complaint, a lawsuit, or take legal action.

DRW cannot guarantee that any individual or organization included in this material will represent or assist you. DRW also cannot guarantee the quality of this individual’s or organization’s representation.

Permission to reprint this publication is granted by the author, DRW, provided that the publication is distributed free of charge and with attribution. If you do disseminate any DRW document, please send us an email to [email protected] letting us know the nature of the audience and number of people with whom it was shared.

Disability Rights Washington
315 5th Avenue S, Suite 850
Seattle, WA 98104
Voice: (206) 324-1521 or (800) 562-2702
Fax: (206) 957-0729
Email: [email protected]

Interpreters available

DRW is a member of the National Disability Rights Network.
A substantial portion of the DRW budget is federally funded.