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Evid Based Nurs 4:63 doi:10.1136/ebn.4.2.63
  • Qualitative

Properly planned de-institutionalisation for mental illness maintained most in community living with enhanced quality of life


 
 QUESTION: What effects does de-institutionalisation have on the lives of residents who were admitted to hospital because of long term mental illness?

Design

Ethnography.

Setting

Northern Sydney Area Health Service, Australia.

Patients

47 hospital residents (hospitalised from 2-43 y) transferred to the community to stay in residential facilities in middle to upper class areas.

Methods

Data were collected using participant observational fieldwork, open ended and semistructured interviews, life history taking and perusal of written records. Fieldwork occurred on a daily basis over a 2.5 year period, approximately 8 months before hospital discharge and then 2 years after discharge. Data collection comprised daily field note taking, audiotaped interviews, and summaries of case records. Ethnographic themes were generated from observations occurring during the study.

Main findings

Initially residents had to acquire new functional living skills and develop socially appropriate behaviours, which were not easy tasks. There was no sudden deterioration in the first few weeks after …

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