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Epidemiol Psichiatr Soc. 2001 Oct-Dec;10(4):260-75.

[Psychiatric residential facilities in Italy. Results of phase I of the PROGRES project].

[Article in Italian]

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The 'PROGRES' (PROGetto RESidenze' Residential Project) project has 3 aims: 1. To survey all Italian psychiatric Non-Hospital Residential Facilities (NHRF) (Phase 1); 2. To assess in detail 20% of the NHRFs and the patients living there (Phase 2); and 3. To carry on training programmes for the mental health workers of these facilities (Phase 3). We report here the results of Phase 1.

METHODS:

All NHRFs were surveyed using a structured interview administered to the manager of the facility. In some cases, this information was supplemented with data gathered from other mental health workers at the NHRFs.

RESULTS:

On May 31, 2000, there were in Italy 1,370 NHRFs with 17,138 beds, giving an average number of beds per facility of 12.5 and a rate of 2.98 beds per 10,000 inhabitants. This rate varies greatly between regions, with a ratio of 1:10 between the two regions with the lowest and the highest bed rates. Seventy-three percent of the NHRFs have a 24-hour staff coverage; more than 50% are directly managed by the NHS Departments of Mental Health and more than three-quarters of the NHRFs are directly funded by the NHS. In the course of 1999 38% of the NHRFs discharged no patients, and another 32% discharged fewer than 3 patients. In about half of the NHRFs the most common patient age group was 40-59 years. In the Italian NHRFs there are 11,240 full-time mental health workers, plus several thousand half-time staff. The average number of full-time mental health workers in each NHRF is 8.2. In 58% of the NHRFs the operational chief is a psychiatrist; some 40% of the overall number of mental health workers in the NHRFs have no specific psychiatric training. The total number of patients resident in the NHRFs is 15,943; among them, 58% have never been admitted to a mental hospital, 40% have been admitted and a small percentage (1.6%) has been previously admitted to a forensic mental hospital. The availability of NHRF beds is negatively associated with the availability of non-hospital facilities (e.g., community mental health centres, day-centres) and positively associated with the number of beds in private psychiatric facilities in each region.

DISCUSSION:

The current rate of NHRF beds in higher than the officially recommended national standard (2/10,000 inhabitants). However, there is a great variability between regions, which is related to the overall provision of different types of psychiatric facilities. Most NHRFs provide intensive care, and the continuum of residential facilities with different types of care, support, degree of autonomy, etc. recommended by several authors for the long-term treatment of severe patients with different disabilities, seem to be lacking. NHRFs have a very low patient turnover rate, and this may create problems in the future.

CONCLUSIONS:

The PROGRES project is the first national study ever carried out in Italy to evaluate a specific type of psychiatric facilities in the context of the new system of psychiatric care. When all the data will be available, it will be possible to assess in detail for the first time a national representative sample of severe, long-stay patients and the care they are receiving; on this basis, it will also be possible to recommend evidence-based policies aimed at improving the care of the severely mentally ill.

PMID:
11917700
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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