, Volume 66, Issue 4, pp 293-320

Studying inpatient treatment practices in schizophrenia: An integrated methodology

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A multi-phase research project examining current impatient psychiatric practices and the relationships between different treatments and patient outcomes is described. The study sample includes Medicaid patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia who have been treated in inpatient units of general hospitals in New York State. The research is focused at the heart of the debate concerning the appropriate role of inpatient psychiatric care within a balanced system of mental health services. Addressed are the conceptual issues that guided the project, research strategies, instrument development, measures used and the preliminary findings that informed successive phases. Design issues are reviewed in light of the conceptual and pragmatic decisions made with a multiple site design. A compelling argument is made about the need for a long-term treatment orientation that prepares patients for what lies ahead and that assures communication and continuity between inpatient and outpatient care.