911 calls in group homes

the cast party business happend in 2013

It’s not something I know about but I expect that staff at a group home, if it’s what I am imagining, they understand people like you and they are prepared to deal with a situation themselves without calling 911. It is part of the context that situations happen. However, physical attacking or throwing even small knives at people is quite bad to do, so unless you are with people who are just as bad, it would not be allowed.

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I know throwing knives isn’t a good thing or attacking people. It just that what I have read in group homes or otherwise that the only times that cops are called is if the person is armed or threatening someone.

Okay, I’m not touching the rest of this mess of a thread. But as for the central question of when does 911 get called in group homes - I can do a storytime that might illustrate the situations where that would happen. This got LONG, fyi.

I worked in nursing homes with dementia patients for years. I made a LOT of 911 calls. If someone fell and we even thought they might have hit their head, 911. Someone fell out of bed and can’t get up? 911. Someone has a cut or skin tear larger than 1 inch across? 911.

For behavioral issues, though, 911 calls were rare. I only ever needed to get the 911 folks involved in a meltdown/behavior incident 4 times that I can remember.

1- One resident pushed another, who then fell backwards into her chair. Both residents were fine, and the “victim” had been harassing the guy who pushed her for over an hour (her own family kind of sighed and said she probably deserved it). But policy stated that since he “attacked” another resident, I had to call the police and have him transported to the ER for a psych assessment.

2- A resident started having hallucinations and thought his room was on fire. He was understandably very upset that we wouldn’t help him get out of bed. I ended up having to sit in a chair at his bedside and repeatedly (gently!) shove him back into bed every time he tried to slide out. After a while of this, he sat up, shouted at me, and punched me in the jaw. It didn’t really hurt (dude was like 90 and could barely sit up under his own power most of the time) but again, policy - he attacked a staff member, so he needed to go to the ER.

3- One of our residents realized she was locked into our unit and went on an absolute rampage. It was late and most of our residents were in their rooms sleeping, so we just went and locked everyone’s door from the outside so she couldn’t bother them and let her rage for a while. We figured eventually she’d tire herself out and agree to go to bed. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen, and then she threw a drinking glass through a window.

4- This one is more sad. We had a resident who didn’t seem well. Nothing specifically wrong, she just…was sick. Her son came in and tried to convince her to go with him to the doctor. This ended up upsetting her to the point that he asked us to call 911 and have her sedated so they could take her to the hospital. She really wasn’t well, unfortunately, and never did make it back from the hospital.

TL;DR: Neither of you is exactly right, but you’re closer. Most places will only call 911 on behavior incidents if the resident has attacked a staff member or resident, or is obviously dangerous to themself or other residents. This doesn’t require the resident to have weapons but at least in my experience, they had to succeed in striking a staff member for it to count.


Thank you for giving us this response. I can’t imagine it is an easy call to make, but I’m glad your place of work has clearly defined policies with easily interpreted threshold points for calling the authorities.

There has been a lot of criticism in the media about how the police handle many situations, but I’m hoping those are the minority cases. How have you found your experience with them when the police have been summoned? Also, when the patient is taken by the police, does a member of staff go with the them, assuming the rest of the home won’t be left with low on staff?


thanks for that information. I did Mental Health First Aid and the number one rule is:

Assess of risk of harm to yourselves and others (including the person in crisis-ie the S word).

But I have seen stories in the newspaper/online where group homes call 911 just because a resident has a knife or something.

I know too quite a bit about being autistic, but I was actually formally diagnosed and received thereby and learned coping skills. As well, most of the meltdowns I’ve experienced or even seen in others involve spinning, or rocking, or head banging, shutting down within yourself, not toddler tantrums to get attention. I also learned years ago that Autism may be a reason, but it is not an excuse. If you are going to live in society then you need to learn how to behave in an acceptable manner.


Ok if autism was just an “excuse” how come I didn’t use to like: marshmallows, kimchi or olives (don’t have much experience with Jell-O-so I can’t say my taste has changed)? Why do I hate clothes tags bugging me to the point I have to have them cut off? If autism was “just an excuse” -why would I have a meltdown when a routine changes- like in one story I mention over in “Share your experiences”-I had a meltdown when I went to day-program building and I discovered it was cancelled for a bit due to a pipe bursting previously on the Monday I think and NO one called to tell me about it?. The other meltdown which happened another time was more understandable due to the fact I had no way of contacting my parents that day without a computer (to look up the clinic). And then I can go on and on about whatever interests me- like that’s why I’m so good at being the “NAR archivist” and I got a nickname on another site as “Ms.Magacartner” (due to history knowledge). I get really pissy often when Dad turns the volume up on me when I’m talking to Mom when he knows its hurts my ears because to me its “too loud”

signs of autism:
1.specific rountines/rituals (and getting upset when a routine is changed, even slightly)
2.senstively to sound/touch/taste
3. Fixations on certain activities or objects
4. fixation on rules (mom says I’m a rule-follower I once got yelled at by a peer from the day-program for being “bossy” when I was just telling them we couldn’t get food until the leaders said too).

But please remember not a lot was known when I was growing up in the 90s and early till late 2000s about autism. We only discover there was more austic traits in me then we knew about because of the Toronto Star having an entire series of it in the fall of my adult year (2008)

We DID try to have me tested in I think 2013(?)- and the doctor was like “I have too much empathy” to be autistic. Which my case-manager at the time thought was bull** due to the fact one of her own school-age kids was austic and also had empathy.

None of my “meltdowns” WERE to get attention-its either was because a routine had changed and I was never informed (day-program closed for X or Y reason) or my parents didn’t give me a heads-up on something (like supper drink at restaurant and I didn’t want to be stuck drinking warm boring water for supper). The only other time I had meltdown is when SOMEONES isn’t listening (see: baked potato incident) or I can’t do something I would normally do like be on my COMPUTER after it freezes up when its super humid out like it was until today. (being on my computer you could say been my routine since March of last YEAR)

@Jude if you aren’t going to be helpful don’t blame me. Since this isn’t about ME its about what my Dad claims that “group homes will call on me for acting childish or they’ll drug me” when I have a meltdown. and this is the same dad who was the childish one (Storming out) at a museum in the last country we visited in 2019. Oh and you do know that there are some austic kids who literally make holes in the wall? So is that not worse then me who just “yell?” I haven’t thrown anything in years-not even a knife. @moderators