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A Follow-up of Deinstitutionalized Chronic Patients Four Years After Discharge
Barbara Dickey; Jon E. Gudeman; Sondra Hellman; Alvera Donatelle; Lester Grinspoon
Psychiatric Services 1981; doi:
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Massachusetts Mental Health Center Boston, Massachusetts

Columbia University New York, New York

American Psychiatric Association

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Twenty-seven chronically ill mental patients were followed up four years after their discharge from a state hospital to the Massachusetts Mental Health Center. In interviews with the patients and their caregivers, data were gathered on the patients' current places of residence, mental status, time spent in the hospital since discharge, levels of functioning, and quality of life. The authors found that patients tended to move from hospital to community, with rehospitalization dropping dramatically once patients were placed in the community; that the group of patients living in the community had a better average mental status; that all but two patients preferred their current living situations to life at the state hospital; and that the best predictor of community residence was age at first admission (over 20). Two policy issues are discussed: the relationship (or lack of one) between restrictiveness and type of residence, and the importance to the findings of changes in psychiatric practice over the lifetime of the sample.

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