Perspective

By Bell, Carl C. | Clinical Psychiatry News, May 2007 | Go to article overview

Perspective


Bell, Carl C., Clinical Psychiatry News


"And it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to
take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its
success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of
things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done
well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may
do well under the new."
Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, 1505

The biggest reasons policy does not reflect what science tells us is needed to ensure a coordinated transition from inpatient to outpatient care for the seriously mentally ill are ignorance on the part of some mental health professionals and the ineptitude of some systems.

Study after study has shown that the most vulnerable time for any person who has been hospitalized for serious mental illness is the period right after discharge, and that many people hospitalized for serious mental illness are not going to follow up with referral services.

When a patient is admitted to a hospital or jail, it should be determined whether he was getting mental health services before admission, so a provider can be notified. If the patient has no previous association with the outpatient clinic to which he is being referred, the clinic should be notified of the pending discharge. …

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