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March 1971

Interrupting Long-Term Patienthood: A Cohort Study: From the Comfort of Shelter to a Taste For Life?

Author Affiliations

Chicago; Rockford, Ill
From the Department of Psychiatry, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, and the Laboratory of Community Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston (Dr. Hansell), and the H. Douglas Singer Zone Center, Rockford, Ill (Mr. Benson).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1971;24(3):238-243. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1971.01750090044006

The pattern of social expectations, for a person in long-term institutional care, may have grown to include a forecast of continuing need for inpatient care, a forecast made with infrequent clinical review. A highly organized day and social system are the central features of a program for returning previously desocialized patients from mental hospitals to productive citizenship. A third of a cohort of 66 patients with an average 14 years previous hospitalization had been converted to outside, independent lives at an 18-month follow-up. The patient group selected had an age and physical health status compatible with active employment so that the job-skill aspect of the program would be meaningful. Patients become interested in the nonhospital world as a result of a highly demanding, challenging culture and conventional, nonpatienthood expectations created within the program.

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