, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 199-210

Reassessing Treatment Environments After Two Decades: Client and Staff Perceptions of an Italian Community Mental Health Service Environment, Then and Now

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Abstract

Community-based psychiatric services and programs developed in accordance with the 1978 Italian psychiatric reform have now been in operation for a quarter of a century. The paper presents the results of a study in which three treatment environments of South-Verona, i.e. a general hospital psychiatric ward, a community mental health center (CMHC) and two residential facilities have been investigated using the Ward Atmosphere Scale (WAS) and the Community Oriented Programs Environment Scale (COPES). Staff and patient ratings have been collected in the three environments thus allowing comparisons between respondents and settings. For the ward and the CMHC, whose staff had already been interviewed almost twenty years before, a comparison between studies was also possible. Results seem to show that original policies, attitudes and staff commitment have successfully survived the passage of time with only minor adjustments and that the single-staff module of South-Verona may have effectively contributed in this respect.