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February 7, 1959


Author Affiliations

Los Angeles

From the Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles.

JAMA. 1959;169(6):582-586. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03000230038009

Three years of experience with a newly established psychiatric ward show that there are advantages in having such a facility within a general hospital. This development proceeded without any disturbing influence on the rest of the hospital. The dangers of suicidal or aggressive behavior were met by skillful screening of the patients on admission, by using the therapeutic milieu to control disturbed behavior, and by establishing a day-room where most of the ward activities now occur. Except for Chamberlain screens on the windows, conversion of one bedroom to a security room, and a locked door separating the wing from the rest of the ward, the change was not in architecture but in policy and procedure. Three case histories illustrate the techniques whereby hospital personnel, the patient's family, and the community were woven into a successful therapeutic scheme.