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A descriptive survey of adult psychiatric day treatment centers in British Columbia Burstahler, Ruth Marie, 1936-


At the present time there is very little informational data available relating to the adult psychiatric day treatment centers in the province of British Columbia. In recent years the trend in psychiatric care has been to treat people within their family and community setting. Within the past five years, four new day care centers have been established at various hospitals throughout the province of British Columbia. The purpose of this descriptive survey was to provide a composite picture of the currently functioning adult psychiatric day care centers. A total of five official and two unofficial day care programs were surveyed and 290 patient records were examined. The specific areas of interest in day care functioning centered around; the family and community involvement in the treatment program, the types of treatment that were used, the type of role the staff carried out, the total program evaluation and a profile of the patients who were treated by this modality. To collect the data, the researcher used; a questionnaire which was answered in a taped interview, observational visits to each center, and an examination of the patients' records. The results of the questionnaire indicated that family involvement in the total day program was generally limited, group methods of treatment were used which gave the patients a sense of community, and patients were followed-up either by the day care center or by the referral source. Referral of patients to these centers were mainly from in-patient wards, other psychiatrists and psychiatric clinics. The criteria that was used to terminate a patient's treatment was on the basis of his actual performance in the program and his level of functioning at home and in the community. This was also the prevalent method used to evaluate the effectiveness of the total treatment program. Staff in these day care centers were both permanent and rotating with their role function being both specific and generalized. An examination of the patients' records revealed that the average patient was 33 years old, generally female, single, diagnosed as being depressed, above Grade 11 in education and presently unemployed. Seventy-seven per cent of the patients had previously received psychiatric treatment and the length of stay in the treatment program was 54 days. Findings from this study indicated that a wide variety of patients were treated in day care, which, had these centers not been available, would have been admitted to an in-patient ward. Day care is not only an alternative to hospitalization, but it may be the choice method of treatment for many patients.

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