The initiation of a patient advocacy program in a private psychiatric
hospital in 1980 was effective in significantly reducing the rate of
hospital discharges against medical advice relative to the rate in 1979 and
in 1978. There was also a concomitant increase in the rate of clinically
approved discharges relative to that in 1979 and in 1978. The authors view
the patient advocate as an objective intermediary who represents an
acknowledgment of patients' rights and affords patients an opportunity to
have some autonomy and an impact on the hospital system.