Widely disparate results concerning the value of aftercare for post-hospitalized mental patients are found in the current literature. Several authors have reported rehospitalization rates of groups of patients assigned to aftercare on a nonrandom basis, such as the hospital physician's recommendation. Two such studies by Freeman and Simmons3 and by Williams and Walker,11 fail to support the value of aftercare, whereas one such study by Hornstra and McPartland4 does report a lower rehospitalization rate for aftercare patients.
Free and Dodd2 and Katz and Cole5 report studies which used random assignment of post-hospital patients to aftercare and control groups. In the Free and Dodd study of 596 patients, 35.1% of the control and 14.6% of the aftercare group returned to the hospital within a year of discharge. Katz and Cole report a study in progress by Engelhardt which attempts