Client Rights: Rights When Receiving Services

People receiving services for a developmental disability, mental health, or substance use have rights under Wisconsin law. These include rights related to treatment, records access, communication, and privacy.

Treatment

Every person receiving services has a right to:

  • Information about their treatment and care.
  • Not receive unnecessary or excessive medicines.
  • Participate in treatment planning.
  • Prompt and adequate treatment.
  • Refuse treatment and medicine (unless it’s court-ordered).

Record privacy and access

Every person receiving services has a right to:

  • Challenge the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, and relevance of record entries.
  • Have their information kept confidential.
  • Not have their records released without consent. (This right that may be limited or denied)
  • See their records.
  • View medicine and treatment records. (This right that may be limited or denied)

Learn more about treatment record confidentiality

Communication

Every person receiving services has a right to:

  • Contact public officials, lawyers, or patient advocates.
  • See, or refuse to see, visitors. (This right that may be limited or denied)
  • Send or receive mail.
  • Use a phone. (This right that may be limited or denied)

Individual

Every person receiving services has a right to:

  • Be paid for work performed.
  • Not be secluded or restrained. (This right that may be limited or denied)
  • Reasonable decisions made on their behalf
  • Refuse to work. (This right that may be limited or denied)
  • Regular and frequent access to the outdoors.
  • Regular and frequent chances to exercise.
  • The least restrictive environment possible. (This right that may be limited or denied)
  • Wear their own clothes and use their own belongings. (This right that may be limited or denied)

Privacy

Every person receiving services has a right to:

  • A reasonable amount of storage space for their belongings. (This right that may be limited or denied)
  • Not be filmed or taped without consent.
  • Receive privacy while using the toilet and bathing. (This right that may be limited or denied)

Miscellaneous

Every person receiving services has a right to:

  • Be free from retribution for filing a complaint.
  • Be told of costs for their care.
  • Be told of their rights.
  • Be treated with dignity and respect by staff members.
  • File a complaint about a rights violation.
  • Refuse drastic treatments.
  • Refuse electroconvulsive therapy.

Laws and codes

You can find more information here:

Last Revised: July 2, 2022