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OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY WITH "REFRACTORY" PATIENTS
P. O. O'REILLY; J. R. HANDFORTH
Am J Psychiatry 1955;111:763-766.
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Psychiatrist, Saskatchewan Hospital, North Battleford.

Senior Psychiatrist, Saskatchewan Hospital, North Battleford.

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Abstract

The results we have recorded represent no new discoveries. The beneficial effects of suitable occupation in mental illness have been known since the time of Pinel. It is our contention, however, that the staffing and administrative problems of mental hospitals may lead to this form of therapy being available only to the "good" patients and to a neglect of the principle(3) that work per se is not the main thing. We have endeavored to show that, provided it is adapted to the patient's particular needs, occupational therapy can improve the condition of even the most "hopeless" cases. Of the 14 patients who participated in our pilot project, only one has failed to show a striking degree of improvement. The other 13 are still mentally ill, but in relinquishing their positions of isolation, they have become better adapted to the hospital environment. This improvement of interpersonal relationships has been accompanied by reduction of socially illtolerated habits, to such a degree that in 2 cases the relatives wish the patients to return home.

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