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New spaces of inpatient care for people with mental illness: a complex "rebirth" of the clinic?

Curtis, S.; Gesler, W.; Priebe, S.; Francis, S.


W. Gesler

S. Priebe

S. Francis


This paper examines the implications for design of inpatient settings of community-based models of care and treatment of mental illness. The study draws on ideas from relational geographies and expands interpretations based on Foucault's writing. We analyse material from a case study which explored the views of patients, consultants, and other staff from a new Psychiatric Inpatient Unit in a deprived area of East London, UK. We discuss in particular: the tension between providing a caring and supportive institutional environment and ensuring that patients are returned to the community when they are ready; the links between an acute inpatient facility and its local community; the potential significance of the psychiatric hospital as a relatively stable feature in the otherwise insecure and unpredictable geographical experience of people with long-term mental illnesses. We discuss the relevance of these issues for design of new psychiatric inpatient facilities.


Curtis, S., Gesler, W., Priebe, S., & Francis, S. (2009). New spaces of inpatient care for people with mental illness: a complex "rebirth" of the clinic?. Health & Place, 15(1), 340-348.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Mar 1, 2009
Deposit Date Jan 6, 2010
Journal Health & Place
Print ISSN 1353-8292
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 1
Pages 340-348
Keywords Psychiatric hospitals, Relational geography, Stigma, Risk, Hospital design.