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August 1977

Alternatives to the Mental HospitalUse of Residential Facilities for Long-Term Psychiatric Care

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1977;34(8):909-912. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1977.01770200047003

• We examine the use of the mental hospital and alternative residential facilities by 149 chronic psychiatric patients in Ontario. All major movements of patients since the time of first admission were recorded, including the number of episodes and duration of hospitalization and placement in alternative facilities and in the community. Clinical and social variables thought likely to influence use were correlated with duration, placement, and mobility. In spite of the lack of formal criteria for placement, relatively discrete and homogeneous populations were found in each facility and clear patterns of use could be distinguished. For many patients, their present placement represents their most typical setting and implies a particular route through the psychiatric services. We describe factors relating to different types of movement, and emphasize the continuing importance of the mental hospital in long-term psychiatric care.