Revisiting the Psychiatric Day Hospital Experience 6 Months After Discharge: How Was the Transition and What Have Clients Retained?


Psychiatric day hospitals offer intensive short-term multidisciplinary treatment. No study has examined in more depth the impact of this therapeutic experience in the life of participants and what they retained from their participation after discharge. A qualitative design using semi-structured individual interviews was completed with 18 participants of different gender, age and diagnosis, treated in a day hospital, 6 months after discharge. Interview themes addressed events and changes since discharge, learnings retained, appreciated components and suggestions. Results showed that the day hospital experience was particularly helpful to improve symptoms and relationship with self. It activated a self-transformation process that continued afterwards. Termination created for many an abrupt void. Issues at stake during the first 6 months were continuity of care, social support and putting learnings into practice. The program offered at the day hospital was generally appreciated but management of the waiting time and linkage to outpatient services needed improvement.

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The authors first wish to offer their most sincere gratitude to the 18 participants who accepted to share their moving journeys. Special thanks to Mrs. Mélanie Couture and Laurence Melançon for their precious input. Finally, we would like to acknowledge the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Association des Hôpitaux de Jour en Psychiatrie du Québec, Réseau Québécois de la Recherche sur le Vieillissement, the Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation and the Centre de recherche Fernand-Seguin for their financial support.

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Correspondence to Nadine Larivière.



Table 2 Definitions of therapeutic factors associated to group therapy

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Larivière, N., Desrosiers, J., Tousignant, M. et al. Revisiting the Psychiatric Day Hospital Experience 6 Months After Discharge: How Was the Transition and What Have Clients Retained?. Psychiatr Q 81, 81–96 (2010).

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  • Psychiatric day hospital
  • Qualitative impact over time
  • Program evaluation