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July 1970

Therapeutic Potential of Age Integration: Effects of Age-Integrated Hospital Environments on Elderly Psychiatric Patients

Author Affiliations

St. Louis
From the Medical Care Research Center (Dr. E. Kahana) and the departments of psychology and child psychiatry (Dr. B. Kahana), Washington University, St. Louis.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1970;23(1):20-29. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1970.01750010022006

THE NUMBERS and proportions of elderly psychiatric patients in state mental hospitals have been steadily increasing during recent years.1 Due to lack of financial and professional resources, however, care of these patients has been largely limited to custodial services with little attempt for rehabilitation. Current available techniques for group and individual psychotherapy are costly and younger, potentially more productive patients are often preferred in utilizing the limited resources of the hospitals for such treatment.

The present study was an experimental investigation of the effects and effectiveness of utilizing the patient environment of custodial mental hospitals for improving the functioning of elderly psychiatric patients. Psychiatric hospitals usually segregate elderly patients in geriatric wards. In this investigation the potential benefits of age integration, ie, exposure of elderly patients to the resources of the more active younger-patient group were explored. The study compares the effects of placing elderly psychiatric patients in hospital

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