Objectives: Recent advances in mental healthcare policy and service delivery have lead to the development of community care initiatives which have enabled those individuals traditionally cared for in hospital environments to be resettled successfully in community living arrangements that foster an ethos of empowerment and recovery. This study sought to identify differences between a hospital continuing care group (n = 16) and a community placement group (n = 20) in relation to quality of life, satisfaction and levels of empowerment.
Method: The study was a cross-sectional design. It follows up a cohort of individuals identified as the ‘hospital continuing care group’ (365+ consecutive days in psychiatric hospital care) by Homefirst Community Trust in Northern Ireland. A proportion of this population has been resettled into community care environments and some continue to reside in hospital. Patients both in the hospital continuing care group and the community placement group completed two standard questionnaires that covered a number of variables including empowerment, quality of life and service satisfaction.
Results: There were significant differences between the hospital continuing care and community placement groups across scores on service satisfaction, quality of life, and empowerment in the current study. Hypotheses relating to service satisfaction (z = −4.117; p < 0.01 ), quality of life (z = −3.944; p < 0.01) and empowerment (z = −4.645; p < 0.01) were supported with higher levels of each evidenced by the community placement group.
Conclusions: The results are supportive of continued resettlement from continuing care in traditional psychiatric hospitals and suggests that such resettlement increases quality of life, satisfaction with services and levels of empowerment. The limitations of the research design are empowerment. The limitations of the research design are also discussed.