The numbers of long-stay patients in Danish psychiatric hospitals were studied, based on information from the Danish cumulative psychiatric register and from the census studies of patients in Danish psychiatric hospitals, performed at 5-year intervals since 1957.
In 1977, 2079 (20%) of the in-patient population which had been admitted before 1957 were still in hospitals. This ‘old long-stay’ group has diminished exponentially, with an annual reduction of 7%.
During the period 1972–6, the number of patients who, on any given day, had been in-patients or attending as day-patients for more than 1 but less than 2 years (the ‘new long-stay’) varied between 847 and 1089: an average of 20 per 100000 total population. The ratio of in-patients to day-patients was approximately 4:1.