Special rehab facilities for mentally ill

Half-way homes for patients recovering for severe mental illnesses planned by government


Sonal Matharu | February 24, 2011

The governmnet is planning to institute special rehabilitation centres for patients of severe mental illnesses that will ease their integration into society after their recovery. These centres, to be called half-way homes, will act as transit homes where patients will be allowed to live with their families and friends before their eventual integration in society.

The centres will come under the ambit of social justice and empowerment ministry. The patients would, however, be under constant care of the healthcare professionals.

“The mentally ill patients will spend some time in these homes before they are finally ready to go back to the society. The environment here would be friendly. Occupational therapists, nurses and social workers would be needed more at these homes as they will be the primary care givers,” D C Jain, special director general health services, told Governance Now.

Two such homes are planned in Institute of Human Behavioral and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) complex.

Initially, when the project was planned, getting land to set up these facilities was a problem. This has now been sorted out and the construction at the allotted sites will start soon, informed Dr Deepak Kumar, head of psychiatry department, IHBAS. Staff to serve in these homes also has to be appointed, he added.

“Land is in surplus at the IHBAS campus, so two half-way homes will come up there. An advantage with these homes is the proximity to the hospital. In case of any emergency, doctors and other staff will be available 24/7,” said Dr Kumar.

A range of services from out-patient department, wards to counselling will be provided in these rehabilitation homes. The target is to have 20 half-way homes across the country. By 2011, at least five to seven such homes should start functioning and in the next two years, all should be functional, informed Dr. Nimesh Desai, director, IHBAS.

“Currently we are planning a network of eight to 10 half-way homes in Delhi. We have our technical committee which is looking into the details of these rehabilitation facilities. IHBAS will have two such facilities. Rs 5 crore per home is sanctioned and not more than 20 to 25 inmates will be in one half-way home,” said Dr Desai.

Half-way homes should be seen as community service and to make this a success, added Dr Kumar. More than the doctors and clinical treatment, patients at these centres would need social workers and counselling.

“The need for half-way homes is high. There are also cases where mentally ill patients, even after they recover, are not accepted in the families. In such cases, these homes can be very beneficial,” said Dr Kumar.



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