Prevention of admission and continuity of care

An in-depth analysis of the recent reform in Italian psychiatry reveals that the relevance of these changes transcends national borders. However, these changes are, from the scientific point of view, worth much more than mere biased pragmatic interest. The reshaping of theory made possible by the transformation of Italian psychiatry in fact opens up new prospects for a scientifically founded form of psychiatric care. Thanks to the new Mental Health Act (No. 180 of 1978),2 it has been possible to set up a type of administrative and institutional organization in which the psychiatric hospital no longer constitutes a functional part of the structures of psychiatric care. This reform thus provides the launching path for a real alternative where current psychiatric ideas and working methods can no longer be accepted as the gospel truth. This paper discusses how a correct problem-definition of psychiatric admission can provide a basis for a correct approach to psychopathological behaviour in a setting where the psychiatric hospital has no role to play and for the consolidation of this new practice.
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