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J Nerv Ment Dis. 1980 Feb;168(2):70-4.

Expectations of hospital treatment. Conflicting views of patients and staff.


A 40-item therapeutic community questionnaire, developed from a survey of experts, was used to assess the treatment needs and expectations of a group of 30 hospitalized psychiatric patients. The patients' attitudes regarding an ideal ward atmosphere were compared to those, as measured previously by the identical instrument, of the treating staff. The results indicated that psychiatric inpatients found the therapeutic community modality consistent with their needs and expectations. However, staff and patients were divided in attitude toward the therapeutic community concept. The staff's definition of therapeutic community was broad and exceeded the principles of the therapeutic community experts. The patients desired a more conservative approach which combined respect and responsibility with a ward structure that was unambiguous and less democratic. Studies of ward atmosphere as well as premature termination in psychotherapy indicate that such conflicts in viewpoint between patients and staff might have detrimental effects on hospital outcome. A negotiated approach to inpatient treatment is suggested as a means to establish greater autonomy, growth in self-esteem, sense of responsibility, and increased trust on the part of hospitalized patients.

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