OVER THE PAST three decades, the efficacy of family care as a therapeutic and rehabilitative resource for the chronic mental patient has achieved growing acceptance. This is best reflected by the estimated 16,000 patients residing in extramural family care homes.1 In itself, this is a noteworthy accomplishment, particularly if the number represents a majority of chronic patients capable of living in the community.
There are, however, nearly 400,000 mental patients in the United States who have been hospitalized for more than one year. Over 50% of these patients are schizophrenic!2 The question could be asked: Do chronic patients actually leave the hospital when they are capable of leaving, or is release more a function of hospital and community resources than it is the patient's clinical and social status? The following report will respond to this question by examining the