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How does the residential care system change? A longitudinal survey in a large region of Italy

, : How does the residential care system change? A longitudinal survey in a large region of Italy. Community Mental Health Journal 47(2): 201-208

To describe 5-year changes in the provision of Residential Facilities (RFs) in a large Italian Region and in the characteristics of their staffing and patients. 2000 census data of all RFs with >4 residential beds in the Emilia-Romagna Region were compared with 2005 census data. The number of residential beds increased from 3.1 per 10,000 inhabitants in 2000 to 4.1 per 10,000 inhabitants in 2005. The RFs operated by private non-profit associations increased at a greater rate than the number of NHS-operated facilities, and the percentage of non-qualified staff has also risen at a greater rate than that observed for qualified staff. The number of individuals with comorbid substance abuse increased from 2.1% in 2000 to 5.7% in 2005. Patient turnover rates were low in both 5-year periods. A process of new institutionalization might be taking place. Mental health care policy-makers should take these findings into account to enhance the planning of effective services, including RFs granting a satisfactory quality of life to patients with severe disorders requiring long-term, eventually unlimited care.


PMID: 21061170

DOI: 10.1007/s10597-010-9355-8

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