A Study of Dually Diagnosed Psychiatric Inpatients

Mar 1989 |
Online Library
Adults with developmental disabilities who were also psychiatric inpatients at state or community hospitals

Over the two-year period, April 1986 through March 1988, about 275 different adults with developmental disabilities were at some point inpatients at Washington's two state mental hospitals or at the psychiatric units of community hospitals. Some were admitted more than once. Why were they so admitted? Were those admissions necessary? How long did they stay in those psychiatric units and were they delayed in returning to community living? What did this cost the state? We did this study in response to concerns by many legislators and legislative staff, program officials and mental health and developmental disabilities advocates that some persons with developmental disabilities are unnecessarily and inappropriately being sent to mental hospitals and that once there they cannot return speedily to community living when ready to do so. If this is so then not only are some of these persons inappropriately served, but, also, the resources of our state and community hospitals could be put to better use. This study is intended to assist department planning for such "dually diagnosed" persons. The hospitalizations most often resulted from recurring severe behavior problems. These behavior problems over time had exhausted community supports or tolerance. Most frequently mentioned were aggression towards others, also destroying property; temper tantrums, physical self-abuse, or attempting suicide. Just over half the admissions were at some point involuntary.

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