The closure of Britain's large psychiatric hospitals, long foreseen, is now rapidly becoming a reality. Surprisingly little is known about the process and outcome of the relocation of long-stay hospital residents. One area of particular concern is the fate of ‘elderly graduate’ patients, who are by convention defined as long-stay patients aged over 65 years who came into continuous psychiatric contact before the age of 65. (More cynically they might be defined as those elderly patients whom our colleagues specialising in the psychiatry of the elderly choose not to take over). This paper documents the experience of a specialist resettlement team working within a declining mental hospital attempting to place ‘elderly graduate’ hospital residents into community provision.
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