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August 10, 1957


Author Affiliations

Dorothy Stauffer, M.S.W.; St. Louis

From the Homer G. Phillips Hospital and the Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Elman died Dec. 23, 1956.

JAMA. 1957;164(15):1633-1635. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02980150001001

• An evaluation was made of two years of rehabilitative work with 86 patients selected from indigents in a city-supported general hospital. Most of these patients were receiving merely custodial care, and their therapy had reached a stationary level; the basic criterion for selection was the absence of likelihood that the patient could return to full employment unless something was done. The program here described was carried out by a special team of professionally trained social service workers under the supervision of a physician. A survey at the end of a three-year period showed that 25 had returned to full employment; 17, though still under treatment, showed promise of complete rehabilitation; an additional 19 were able to leave the hospital for homecare or self-care; 8 refused the service; and 8 were considered unpromising. The financial saving to the community was easily calculated, and far outweighed the cost of the program, which was carried out without changing the organization of the services and utilized mostly voluntary time by workers assigned to other duties at practically no cost. The additional intangible effects, however, proved to be at least equally important.