The patient files I’ve researched show many occasions of patients being taken out of the hospital – against the doctor’s explicit advice. The person asking for the patient’s removal would take full responsibility for them and their behaviour in the community. Many patients returned (or were returned) to the hospital after only a short period of time. Do you think families are right to take a patient out of care against a doctor’s wishes?
Throughout the documents I have researched for this website, the patient’s family features prominently – not only in the admission and discharge procedures, but particularly while patients were hospitalised. Families wanted to be actively involved in a patient’s treatment rather than passively watching from the outside. While psychiatry nowadays recognises the role of the family in mental illness, such ‘interference’ was not always welcome by the Medical Superintendent in earlier decades. If your family member was mentally ill, would you want to be involved in their treatment? To what degree?
Up until the latter decades of the 20th century patients had few choices of where to receive treatment for their mental illness. De-institutionalisation and the move towards community care has changed this, but at the same time shut down the large mental hospitals. What is your view on these developments?
One of our aims for this website is to trace the changes in mental health care over time. Changes were usually introduced with an improvement of patient care in mind. Do you think this has always been achieved?
Many patients hospitalised in the DCLA (and also their families) experienced a high degree of stigmatisation (for example being avoided by their neighbours and colleagues at work, etc.) owing to the mental illness in their family. Do you think people’s attitudes towards mental disorders have changed more recently? If so, why?
Welcome to our blog. This section will be open from 03-10 November 2012. Here you can reply to our posts with short comments of up to 200 words. If you have a longer story to tell or would like to send us some pictures related to the DCLA, please visit our ‘Memories‘ section.