Right to Fresh Air

“Fresh air” refers to the level of freedom that a DMHAS patient is clinically authorized to enjoy during inpatient care. In keeping with recovery-oriented treatment, a patient’s right to fresh air is a clinical determination that is meant to provide a more normalized treatment environment that allows individuals to prepare for “real life” after discharge. Rather than being used punitively, these “privilege levels” are meant to promote patient autonomy, self-esteem, and quality of life while also managing patient safety. Privileges must be granted or withheld based on clinical rationales that consider the most appropriate and least restrictive setting in which treatment can be provided without disregarding the basic safety, welfare, and legal rights of not only the person in recovery but also the general public and DMHAS staff. Note, however, that in forensic settings (e.g. Whiting Maximum Security Service at Connecticut Valley Hospital), more restrictive policies and procedures are in place because safety and risk concerns may outweigh the promotion of autonomy.