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Involuntary Hospitalization: What For and How Long?
JAMES SPENSLEY; JAMES T. BARTER; PAUL H. WERME; DONALD G. LANGSLEY
Am J Psychiatry 1974;131:219-223.
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Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Division of Mental Health, University of California at Davis School of Medicine and Sacramento Medical Center, 2315 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento, Calif. 95817

Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Division of Mental Health, University of California at Davis School of Medicine and Sacramento Medical Center, 2315 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento, Calif. 95817

Mental Health Planning Analyst, Sacramento Medical Center, 2315 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento, Calif. 95817

Professor of Psychiatry and Chairman, Division of Mental Health, University of California at Davis School of Medicine and Sacramento Medical Center, 2315 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento, Calif. 95817

1974, The American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

In spite of much criticism of the practice of involuntary hospitalization for mental illness, specific data on the practice are lacking. This study examined the data on all involuntarily hospitalized patients (N = 226) discharged from Sacramento Medical Center in 1971. The results showed that the median length of involuntary stay was short (three days), the majority of patients accepted a recommendation for voluntary outpatient treatment, and lengthy involuntary treatment was rarely needed. In California the civil rights of such patients are protected by a system of periodic review of each case by the courts.

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