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December 1958

Remotivating the Mental Patient

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1958;80(6):798-799. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1958.02340120134023

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For good reasons, the literature concerned with large mental hospitals has emphasized problems, frustrations, and failures. It has become almost cliché to point out poor housing, overcrowding of patients, lack of sufficient personnel, intrastaff tensions, and various consequences of the above, including profound pessimism regarding patient recovery, and dehumanization of staff-patient transactions.

Recognizing this trend, the Russell Sage Foundation sponsored studies designed to investigate and report on positive developments. Von Mering and King have attempted to focus on encouraging signs through visits to thirty psychiatric institutions located in all sections of the United States. By extensive field-work observations and interviews with personnel, they uncovered methods which illustrate what can be done to improve patient care, especially in state hospital settings. Hopefully, these findings may be utilized as models in other institutions, and, in conjunction with other studies, this report would help in counteracting pessimism regarding patient improvement. In the authors'

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