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Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 1994 Jan;16(1):20-31.

Medical psychiatry units and the roles of the inpatient psychiatric service in the general hospital.

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  • 1Inpatient Psychiatric Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston 02114.


The medical-psychiatric unit concept has been the most important influence in the development of general hospital inpatient psychiatry in the last decade. This concept and style of unit organization is reviewed in the context of the history of general hospital inpatient psychiatry. It is suggested that elements of the medical-psychiatry unit model will become more important in the organization of general hospital psychiatric units. Modifications of the medical psychiatry unit concept are suggested to take into account the heterogeneity of many general hospital inpatient services. Implications of these factors are discussed in the context of unit design, models of staff organization, and the formation of networks of care.

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