Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

The closing of a mental health facility in Newtown

From the 26 January 2013 article at KevinMD.com

..Fairfield Hills Hospital [was] a state run mental health facility located in Newtown, about 3 miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School. The hospital closed its doors in 1995.

To tell the tale of Fairfield Hills Hospital is to tell a tale of two nations. The first, a new economic and financial superpower, a country with an increasingly aspirational middle class toiling in a system that rewarded their hard work with a level of wealth and a standard of living never seen before in human history.  The second, a country struggling to balance the opposing pressures of a demographic bubble and crushing debt levels the likes of which have also never been seen in human history.

At its height, Fairfield Hills Hospital housed more than 4000 patients and had its own residency training program in psychiatry. …

… But most importantly, it had a large inpatient psychiatric facility. Many of the patients were temporary and often involuntary residents. But many others were long term residents. Very often they were mentally handicapped wards of the state, who could not live independently and had no one to take care of them. Others were severely mentally handicapped or individuals who represented a threat to themselves or others. …

What subsequently happened to Fairfield Hills Hospital is largely emblematic of what had befallen mental health care and in another sense, public funding in America. The soaring expenditures of maintaining grand inpatient mental health facilities, and maintaining thousands of employee benefits including generous health care and pensions became increasingly difficult to continue in the face of a decreasing tax base. This coincided with the decreasing emphasis on institutionalization and greater emphasis on community based models of care ….

 

Read the entire article here

 

January 28, 2013 Posted by | health care, Psychiatry | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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