Patients' rights to complain in Finnish psychiatric care: An overview

Maritta Anneli Vaelimaeki, Lauri Kuosmanen, Jukka Kärkkäinen, Diane K. Kjervik

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Cuts in resources for Finnish psychiatric care may jeopardize the realization of patients' rights in mental health settings. The right to complain is a basic right of all patients in Finland, and is especially important to patients treated involuntarily and also to those who have experienced coercive treatment methods during their hospitalizations. In Finland, a patient's right to complain is guaranteed by law, both in legislation and in national quality recommendations. The complaint process in Finland is very complex, and there are several ways to make a complaint that are not always familiar to patients with severe illnesses. Psychiatric patients may have cognitive impairments that make the formulation of a complaint difficult. Despite help from the patient ombudsman, unbalanced power structures in psychiatric hospitals, insufficient information and long evaluation of appeals makes the complaint process very demanding for psychiatric patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-188
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Involuntary treatment
  • Mental health legislation
  • Patient complaints
  • Patients' rights

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law


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