Residential Facilities as the New Scenario of Long-Term Psychiatric Care

Giovanni de Girolamo; Mariano Bassi


Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2004;17(4) 

In This Article


In the last few decades, in parallel with the closing of many mental hospitals around the world, large numbers of severely mentally ill patients have been relocated to a variety of nonhospital residential settings, called residential facilities. These include different types of accommodation such as 'group homes', 'intermediate facilities', 'wards in the community', 'boarding-and-care homes', 'supervised hostels' or 'sheltered apartments'. To date, no internationally agreed and precise taxonomy has been developed to classify residential facilities and identify their distinct functions for specific groups of patients with severe mental disorders. Different facility names (as indicated above) often correspond to identical settings, while sometimes facilities having similar names exhibit very different characteristics and pursue nonconvergent objectives.

Despite the magnitude of this development, research in this area has so far been quite sparse. The aim of this contribution is to provide a nonsystematic review of the literature dealing with residential facilities for the mentally ill published since 2000. We aim to draw some general conclusions about residential, long-term care and to highlight needed areas of research.


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