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October 1970

State Hospital Environment and Rates of Patient Discharge

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles
From the Department of Community-Medicine and Public Health, University of Southern California, School of Medicine, Los Angeles.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1970;23(4):346-351. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1970.01750040058009

OVER the last 15 years, a substantial number of research findings and observations have been published indicating that prolonged exposure to the environment of state hospitals has severely debilitating effects on the social and psychological condition of Patients.1-5 The syndrome of institutionalization which involves patients' involuntary adaptation to an often unhealthy hospital environment has steadily become a social reality which hospital administrators have recently been trying to change. Reform in this regard has taken several interrelated directions. First, state hospitals have been attempting to alter the nature of the hospital environment itself by treating patients more humanely, making wards more open and pleasant, providing patients with more adequate facilities, and adopting policies that are less repressive.6-10 Such environmental manipulations are thought to improve patients' social and psychological health, thereby making them more likely candidates for discharge. The second basic kind of reform involves hospital attempts to

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