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Article   |    
Quality of life of long-stay patients discharged from two psychiatric institutions
Psychiatric Services 1996; doi:
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The study compared the quality of life of long-stay psychiatric patients after they had been discharged to community residences for one year with that of long-stay patients who remained hospitalized. METHODS: Long-stay patients (that is, those with stays of at least one year) who were discharged from two psychiatric hospitals in London were closely matched with patients likely to stay in the hospital for another year. Baseline (in-hospital) and one-year follow- up assessments were conducted using six instruments to measure factors related to quality of life such as problems in social functioning and size of the social network. RESULTS: A total of 494 discharged patients were compared with 279 patients who remained in the hospital. The death rate did not differ between the two groups. Only six discharged patients became vagrants, and only two were imprisoned, one briefly. Discharged patients were living under much less restrictive conditions, they preferred their life in the community, and the number of their friends increased, as did the number of acquaintances in the community such as neighbors. No adverse effects of discharge on mental state or social behavior were noted. CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that community care is a beneficial alternative to long-term care in psychiatric hospitals for the majority of patients, provided it is well planned and adequate resources are available.

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