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Psychiatric facilities and social case work services in a hospital setting : a review of developments in the Vancouver General Hospital (1915-1950) Williams, Eunice Amelia


Vancouver General Hospital was the first general hospital in the Province of British Columbia to establish psychiatric facilities for care of the mentally ill. The trend toward psychiatric wards and psychiatric clinics in general hospitals began during World War I because of public awareness of the need for facilities to care for mentally ill patients. In 1915, Vancouver General Hospital opened its first psychiatric ward; five years later, a psychiatric clinic was established. The aim of this study is to show what Vancouver General Hospital has contributed to psychiatric care for the mentally ill. The study is concerned with disclosing the adequacies of the hospital, as well as the inadequacies in terms of service to the patients and to the community. The information concerning the development of psychiatric facilities at Vancouver General Hospital was obtained from annual reports of Vancouver General Hospital, from the Survey of Vancouver General Hospital by the Joint Committee in 1932, and from personal interviews with the Director of Vancouver General Hospital, the Chief Staff Psychiatrist of the hospital's psychiatric department, the psychiatrist of the psychiatric ward and clinic, the hospital's first social worker, and two nurses affiliated with the first psychiatric ward and clinic. Information on the development of psychiatric facilities in the City of Vancouver was obtained by personal interviews with the head social worker of the Provincial Mental Hospital. The case material and statistical information in the study were secured from 225 records of the Social Service Department of Vancouver General Hospital. The records cover a three year period, 1947 through 1949. The number of social service records for this period totaled 450. A sample was made of every second record and 225 records were obtained. The most significant finding in the study indicates that the Psychiatric Department of Vancouver General Hospital has been handicapped in its effort to serve the mentally ill and the emotionally disturbed. The hospital is without sufficient personnel and adequate facilities to meet the demands of the community.

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