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Community Ment Health J. 1990 Apr;26(2):193-204.

Measuring the treatment environment of a psychiatric ward and a community mental health center after the Italian reform.

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Institute of Psychiatry, University of Verona, Italy.


In 1978 a major psychiatric reform drastically changed the Italian psychiatric system by the closing of admissions to mental hospitals and the development of psychiatric units in general hospitals and of alternative services in the community. The paper presents the results of a study in which two treatment environments set up according to the reform, i.e. a psychiatric unit in a general hospital and a community mental health center run by the same staff, were examined using the Ward Atmosphere Scale (WAS) and the Community Oriented Programs Environment Scale (COPES). In addition, validity studies of the Italian versions of the WAS and COPES are presented. Both instruments were found to be feasible and useful, easily understood, easy to administer and relatively well accepted by the psychiatric staff. The quality of the two scales has been confirmed by psychometric analysis, with the exception of the independence of scales. No major differences between the two environments emerged, both showing characteristics consistent with the new treatment philosophy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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