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The social problems of discharged mental patients referred to a public assistance agency in 1954: a study of the problems of fifteen discharged mental patients and the services provided to them by the Social Service Departments of the Crease Clinic and the City Social Service Department. Johnson, Emily Alice


The subject of this study is to examine the problems of a group of discharged mental patients and the services provided to them by their referral to a public assistance agency. The study has examined the particular problems presented in financial need, accommodation, and family difficulties, and has attempted to assess whether public assistance services are adequate to effect continuing improvement, in a clinical sense, in the patient's psychological adjustment. Within the period, January 1st, 1954, to December 31st, 1954, fifteen patients were referred by the Crease Clinic Social Service Department, Essondale, British Columbiaj to the City Social Service Department, Vancouver, British Columbia, as being in need of financial assistance. Ten of the patients were in receipt of assistance at the time of their admission to the Crease Clinic. At this point their cases were closed by the City Social Service Department. Upon discharge from the Crease Clinic, re-application to the assistance agency was necessary. This constituted re-referral and they were thus included in this study. By the use of two Schedules¹ and through personal communication with the Administrators of the Social Service Department of the Crease Clinic, and the Social Service Department, data were obtained about the patients' psycho-social background, the problems presented, and the services given by the psychiatric hospital social workers, and the Assistance Agency Staff. The findings indicated that shortage of social work staff, and heavy caseloads, may in certain severe problem cases, result in uncoordinated and inadequate service. The need for a more adequate definition of responsibility in providing After-Care Services through joint hospital and community planning, was evident, particularly in the cases where the psychological difficulties of the patients, remained unmodified by the services given. This is stressed because of the policy of the City Social Service Department to close their cases when financial need is no longer required, in the cases mentioned the psychological problems would appear to re-activate psychosocial difficulties. An example of a referral policy has been suggested to affect closer liaison between the agencies. A suggestion that the City Social Service Department consider plans to promote preventative services to families and individuals with rehabilitative potential ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ¹ See Appendix, pp. 91-92.

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