Deinstitutionalization and Schizophrenia in Finland II: Discharged Patients and Their Psychosocial Functioning

Three representative cohorts of schizophrenia patients deinstitutionalized from psychiatric hospitals in 1982, 1986, and 1990 were followed up for 3 years in Finland. Patients of the last cohort were older, more disturbed, and had been ill for a longer time than those discharged at the beginning of the 1980s. Despite this, the mortality of patients deinstitutionalized in 1990 did not increase, and their psychosocial functioning seemed to become even better during the 3-year follow-up period compared with those deinstitutionalized during the previous decade. Patients who had been discharged in 1990 were more often living alone than those discharged in the 1980s. Homelessness was rare throughout the study period. In general, patients were more satisfied with their life situation at follow-up compared with that on discharge. Furthermore, most patients were satisfied with their treatment situation. Altogether, the psychiatric care system seemed to be able to meet schizophrenia patients' need for care fairly well during the rapid deinstitutionalization process in Finland. More attention, however, should be paid to the loneliness and social withdrawal of discharged patients as well as to other disabilities in their social functioning.

Publication Date: 
Schizophrenia Bulletin