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Article   |    
Obstacles to Reducing Patient Abuse in Public Institutions
Clarence J. Sundram
Psychiatric Services 1984; doi:
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New York State Commission on Quality of Care for the Mentally Disabled, 99 Washington Avenue, Suite 730, Albany, New York 12210

1984 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Although the abuse ofpatients in state mental health facilities compromises the patients' therapeutic environment and strongly affects public conceptions of such facilities, there is a lack of reliable research and data on patient abuse. Drawing on his five-year experience as chair of the New York State Commission on Quality of Care for the Mentally Disabled, the author discusses the problems that hinder the reporting, investigation, and preven-tion of patient abuse in public facilities. He believes that the reporting of minor abusive conduct is precluded by the very working conditions that contribute to its occurrence, but that the reporting of major abusive conduct is precluded by powerfulfactors in the administrative and disciplinary structures of state institutions. after discussing the problems bebind the reporting of patient abuse, the author suggests some preventive measures to decrease the incidence of abuse and to ensure its reporting when it occurs.

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