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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Family care homes for mental patients : a comparative review of family care programs as rehabilitation aids, and some local applications Booth, Beatrice


The goal of treatment is the restoration of the mental patient to the community. This study has sought to show that family care is a useful device for rehabilitation, both for the person for whom return to independent living is expected, and as a means of providing a more satisfactory way of life than the hospital environment for the person who will continue to need supervision. The method used was to survey the development of family care in Europe, Canada and the United States, and to compare various characteristics of U. S. programs in New Jersey, Wisconsin, Michigan, California, Idaho, Maryland, Kentucky and Minnesota. A report of the Veterans Administration, Washington, D. C. was examined, and a study was also made of special features of foster care programs in the Veterans Administration Hospital at Bedford, Massachusetts, and St. Cloud, Minnesota. A general assessment was made of existing arrangements for boarding home care of mental patients in British Columbia, with special reference to community resources available, in order to determine the relative merits of boarding home placement versus family care. In this connection the files of all patients placed in boarding home care by one full-time social worker at the Provincial Mental Hospital, Essondale, B. C., between July 1, 1959 and August 31, 1960 (comprising 20 patients in all) were closely examined to establish the main characteristics of the group and their community adjustment. In the concluding chapter, as a result of the various comparisons made, it was possible to draw up a check list of criteria which could serve as a guide in setting up and developing future family care programs. The check list in summary comprises the following points: (1) orientation of hospital employees and the community to the program; (2) preparation of the patient; (3) sufficient number of social workers to operate the program; (4) sponsors suited to the task of caring for patients; (5) adequate physical standards in the home; (6) provision of medical services for patients; (7) provision of clothing and money for incidental expenses and comforts allowance for patients without means; (8) encouragement of appropriate social activities; (9) homes of varying sizes to meet the needs of different patients; (10) location of the home within access of community facilities for the benefit of patients. The broad conclusion is that the provision of adequate services will ultimately depend on the assumption by the community of the responsibility for the rehabilitation of the mentally ill.

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