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March 1959

A Therapeutic Community with an Open Door in a Psychiatric Receiving Service

Author Affiliations

San Mateo, Calif.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1959;81(3):335-340. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1959.02340150067007

A therapeutic community with an open door has been in operation since December, 1956, in the psychiatric receiving service of the county hospital in San Mateo. This paper will point out that such a program can be successful with acutely disturbed patients even when no screening of admissions is permitted.

History  Acting on the modern theory that the mentally ill are best treated as near home as possible, the Board of Supervisors and the Department of Health and Welfare of San Mateo County, with the help of a bond issue, established a 30-bed psychiatric ward as part of the Community Hospital of San Mateo County. The purpose of the ward is to provide for observation and diagnosis of indigent psychiatric patients and to avoid commitment to state hospitals by treating and rehabilitating as many as possible locally. Hospitalization is thought of not as an isolated experience but as one phase

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