Long stay patients who continue to require 24-hour nursing care can be divided into two main groups: those who need to remain in hospital and those who could receive their care outside hospital. The Hostel Ward, with a multidisciplinary team providing input to individualised rehabilitation programmes, has been conceived as a possible solution to providing care for the second group. Some of its clinical, social and economic benefits have been reported (e.g. Hyde et al, 1987) and there now seems to be increasing agreement about its potential value within the range of rehabilitation services needed by a health district for people with chronic psychiatric illnesses (Abrams, 1988). However, it is still a relatively new concept and as the experience of this type of service may vary from one district to another, further reports of its utility and limitations are still needed (Garety et al, 1988).
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