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A Longitudinal Account of Staff Adaptation to AIDS Patients on a Psychiatric Unit
Jess Amchin; H. Jonathan Polan
Psychiatric Services 1986; doi:
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The Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, 3811 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213

The Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic of New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center

1986 American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

As more patients with AIDS and AIDS-related syndromes are admitted to psychiatric units, staffs must meet new diagnostic and therapeutic challenges while adapting to the unique stresses of treating these patients. The authors discuss several case vignettes to illustrate how the staff of a voluntary acute-stay psychiatric unit progressed over a two-year period from having difficulty treating AlDS patients within the usual therapeutic milieu to directly confronting the issues raised by the disease both among themselves and in the patient community. The authors believe that the staff's ability to cope with AIDS patients may have strongly influenced the patient community's ability to cope, and that clinical experience and educational programs were major contributors to the staff's adaplation. They conclude with several recommendations for psychiatric staffs beginning to treat AIDS patients.

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