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Article   |    
The Impact of a New State Commitment Law on Psychiatric Patient Careers
Donald N. Haupt; Saundra M. Ehrlich
Psychiatric Services 1980; doi:
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Adult Psychiatric Inpatient Unit Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department of Mental Health and Law Temple University Law School Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Discharges and recidivism rates of 378 admissions in an urban hospital psychiatric unit were studied to investigate the impact of Pennsylvania's changed commitment law on the mentally ill patient. Variables studied for a pre-enactment and a post-enactment group included voluntary or involuntary admission, length of hospital stay, number of patients released against medical advice, rehospitalization within six months after discharge, and continuation of recommended outpatient treatment. Findings revealed that the impact of the new law was felt not by the entire patient population but by patients discharged against medical advice. There was an increase in the proportion of patients discharged AMA; they had shorter lengths of stay and higher rates of recidivism, and they appeared less often for outpatient care.

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