“Stakeholder” attitudes over time toward the closing of a state hospital

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Abstract

For four groups—patients (N=80), their families or lay caregivers (N=120), hospital workers (N=124), and the public (N=108)—attitudes toward the decision to close the only long-term, urban state hospital are traced over time. Initially, patients were most supportive of the closing decision (65.4%), followed by family members (39.8%), the general public (27.8%), and workers (10.4%). A majority of all groups favored fixing the hospital. Almost half of the clients and more than half of other stakeholders expressed concerns about homelessness. Most attitudes were consistent despite respondents' sociodemographic characteristics. The overall profile of group attitudes remained remarkably stable, although there was a good deal of change in individuals' positions. Public support for fixing the hospital decreased significantly, and differences among stakeholders regarding homelessness disappeared. These findings reinforce the importance of ascertaining different constituencies' positions and recognizing the slowly changing response of stakeholders even under massive and successful policy change.

This article was presented at the annual meetings of the American Public Health Association, 1997, Indianapolis, IN.