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First-Admission Psychiatric Ward Milieu:  Treatment Process and Outcome

Anthony F. Lehman, MD, MSPH; John S. Strauss, MD; Barry A. Ritzler, PhD; Ronald F. Kokes, PhD; David W. Harder, PhD; Thomas E. Gift, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1982;39(11):1293-1298. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1982.04290110047008.
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• A two-year, prospective study of 123 first-admission patients examined the impact of different inpatient treatment decision-making styles on patient outcome on a therapeutic community ward and a medically oriented psychiatric ward. Ward philosophy, programmatic and administrative structure, and ward atmosphere defined the ward milieus. Data on length of stay and the use of various therapeutic modalities provided comparisons of treatment process. Standardized ratings of psychopathologic condition and levels of function, readmissions, and illness attitudes were used to assess two-year outcomes. The major finding was the absence of outcome differences despite longer lengths of stay on the therapeutic community ward. Hence, differences in ward decision-making style may not influence outcome, but may affect the process of care among diagnostically heterogeneous, first-admission patients treated in a university setting.

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