Community integration of elderly mentally ill persons in psychiatric hospitals and two types of residences

Depla, MFIA., de Graff, R., van Busschbach, JT. & Heeren, TJ., May-2003, In : Psychiatric Services. 54, 5, p. 730-735 6 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Objective: Deinstitutionalization policy in the Netherlands has given rise to two new living arrangements for elderly long-term psychiatric patients. Both involve accommodation in mainstream residential homes for elderly persons, either concentrated in a specialized care unit or dispersed throughout the facility. The authors studied the effectiveness of these two housing models for the community integration of such residents compared with accommodation in a psychiatric hospital. Methods: Three subsamples were selected: 49 residents in six units of concentrated housing, 47 residents in 12 units of dispersed housing, and 78 patients in 24 psychiatric hospital units, for a total sample of 174 participants. These samples were compared in a quasi-experimental, posttest-only design that used four measures of community integration: amount of perceived influence over one's daily life, involvement in social activities, social network size, and frequency of visits received from members of the network. To adjust for differences in the populations, the hospital patients were matched to the residential home residents, and confounding factors were controlled for. Results: Residential homes afforded more privacy, were closer to public services, and had a more diversified population than psychiatric hospitals. Participants in dispersed housing experienced more personal influence over their lives than did hospital patients. Concentrated-housing participants were less enterprising and had smaller social networks. The three groups did not differ in the frequency of visits received from network members. Conclusions: Community-integrated facilities do not necessarily imply community-integrated residents. Only dispersed-housing residences were an improvement over hospitals, and then solely in terms of residents' influence over their own daily lives. The advantage of the dispersed-housing model is that it resembles independent living while its institutional nature offers structure and protection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)730-735
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May-2003



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