The International Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation


Psychiatric Rehab. & Community Care in Sri Lanka

Responsible Institutions
Colombo Mental Health Hospital, Ministry of Health

Project Time-frame
June 1997 to June 2000

Main Goals
To provide a community based rehabilitation programme for suitable medium-long stay psychiatric patients.

A review of psychiatric patients in hospitals in Sri Lanka, has revealed a large proportion of long stay patients despite little or no need for active psychiatric treatment. Pilot studies have been conducted and demonstrated that successful rehabilitation of patients within the community is possible. During the years 1990 to 1995, 452 long stay patients (1 year or more) were resettled and successfully followed-up.

Project Description
This project aims to provide a suitable rehabilitation programme for medium-long stay psychiatric patients to enable patients to live productively within their community. The rehabilitation process that will be used for this project includes (1) an assessment of the patient by the psychiatrist and psychiatric social workers, (ii) establishment of relationships between patients and specific psychiatric social workers, (iii) identifying and meeting patients' relatives in the community, (iv) sending patients home for a short trial period, (v) providing social support to the patient and family, and (vi) crisis intervention.

 This project also involves the training of primary health care workers and volunteers and the development of a number of resources to facilitate the acceptance and rehabilitation of psychiatric patients in the community.

These resources would include: information for the family of the psychiatric patient; guide-lines for early detection and management, including crisis intervention for primary care workers; and information to the community on mental health and mental disorders which aims to destigmatize mental illness.

Performance Indicators
The main performance indicators would include the number of patients successfully discharged and rehabilitated, the number of re-admissions, the length of stay in hospital after re-admission, the number of primary health care or volunteer workers involved, the production of educational resources, improved knowledge and skills of primary health care and volunteer workers and increased acceptance of mental illness by the community.

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