For healthcare professionals only

Research Article

What happens to homeless mentally ill people? Follow up of residents of Oxford hostels for the homeless.

BMJ 1992; 304 doi: (Published 11 January 1992) Cite this as: BMJ 1992;304:79
  1. M. Marshall,
  2. D. Gath
  1. Oxford University, Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Headington.


    OBJECTIVES--To follow up severely mentally ill residents of hostels for the homeless to determine their social and psychiatric outcome. DESIGN--Follow up at 18 months of hostel residents previously assessed with psychiatric and behavioural measures. SETTING--Two Oxford hostels for the homeless. SUBJECTS--48 hostel residents previously identified as disabled by mental illness. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Current housing, admissions to psychiatric hospital, violent or antisocial behaviour, and score on standardised behavioural rating. RESULTS--45 of the 48 residents were traced. 27 had remained in the hostels; only 10 had been rehoused, mainly in bedsits or with their families. 16 had a poor outcome as judged by death (four subjects), lengthy hospital readmission (two), marked deterioration in behaviour (six), sleeping rough (one), or disappearance (three). CONCLUSION--More effort is needed to provide suitable housing for homeless mentally ill people.