The Young Adult Chronic Patient: A Look Back

Cournos, Francine; Le Melle, Stephanie

Editor's Note: In the commentary below, Francine Cournos, M.D., and Stephanie Le Melle, M.D., discuss the article on page 989, reprinted from the July 1981 issue of Hospital and Community Psychiatry. That article described a new group of chronic patients, young adults with poor social functioning who were draining the resources of public-sector programs. Drs. Cournos and Le Melle place the emergence of this patient group within a larger context of shifts in funding streams for social welfare programs and a lack of resources for community-based care. They describe studies published in this journal in the 1980s that examined many issues related to the treatment of young adult chronic patients—homelessness, outpatient commitment, and comorbid substance abuse—and they call on mental health professionals to advocate for more resources to improve patient care.


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September 28, 2017