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Respite Care for Mentally Ill Patients and Their Families
Rosemarie Geiser; Linda Hoche; Joycelyn King
Psychiatric Services 1988; doi:
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Menlo Park division of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Palo Alto, California

American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

An inpatient psychiatric unit at a Veterans Administration Medical Center offers regularly scheduled psychiatric respite care, an intervention intended to reduce recidivism among chronic patients who live with a family member and to support the family in their caregiving role. Patients and their families have the option of arranging for respite admissions for two to seven days at six- to eight-week intervals. Preliminary one-year data for 14 patients show that with participation in the respite program, subsequent hospital days are significantly decreased. Subjective data indicate that respite care helps stabilize improvements patients made in the hospital, allows staff to work with family systems in a nonadversarial manner, and gives the family needed relief from difficult behaviors.

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