Outpatient Care

Following hospitalization, patients have a right to effective care provided by their community. You, as a caregiver, patient, or patient advocate, should receive certain basic benefits. Effective outpatient care should provide sufficient psychiatric monitoring, medical compliance, therapy, decent housing, and training in preparation for a job or volunteer position.

Essential

Among mental health care providers, a case manager is the person who oversees a consumer's treatment plan outside the hospital. A good case manager will ensure good treatment by going to bat for consumers when they run into obstacles as they work toward recovery.

The absence of an effective community care program can make it more difficult for someone to continue her medication and get effective therapy and training. This increases chances of symptoms, psychotic emergencies, hospitalizations, unemployment, homelessness, and even suicide.

No Secrets

A 1975 study showed the benefit of informing patients about recommended treatment options. Before their first visit to a psychiatric outpatient clinic, fifty people were asked what they thought about the upcoming consultation. The survey revealed a fear of social stigma and a fair amount of misunderstanding about the nature of the visit. Some of those questioned did not even know they were going to see a psychiatrist. Thirty percent of the people who were informed about the nature of the clinic never visited it. With patient education and explanations, however, the number of refusals fell to just 13 percent.

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