Care in community succeeds despite scare stories

July 9, 1999

Despite some media scare stories, replacing psychiatric hospitals with residential care in the community has worked well for most patients, according to an analysis by Noam Trieman and Julian Luff of the Royal Free and University College medical school and Gyles Lover of the Institute of Psychiatry.

Their analysis of 670 long-stay patients from two London hospitals showed that they had few problems of crime and homelessness, and although a third had been readmitted at least once, nearly 90 per cent of the survivors were still living in the community. The group studied did not have a higher mortality rate than comparable groups in the population.

However, the researchers warn in the current issue of the British Medical Journal that such community placements must be adequately resourced and that readmissions of such patients are regular and unavoidable.

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