Characteristics and activities of acute psychiatric in-patient facilities: National survey in Italy

Giovanni De Girolamo, Angelo Barbato, Renata Bracco, Andrea Gaddini, Rossella Miglio, Pierluigi Morosini, Bruno Norcio, Angelo Picardi, Elisabetta Rossi, Paola Rucci, Giovanni Santone, Giuseppe Dell'Acqua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Legislation in 1978 led to the gradual replacement of mental hospitals in Italy with a full range of community-based services, including facilities for acute in-patient care. Aims: To survey the main characteristics of Italian public and private in-patient facilities for acute psychiatric disorders. Method: Structured interviews were conducted with each facility's head psychiatrist in all Italian regions, with the exception of Sicily. Results: Overall, Italy (except Sicily) has a total of 4108 public in-patient beds in 319 facilities, with 0.78 beds for every 10 000 inhabitants, and 4862 beds in 54 private in-patient facilities, with 0.94 beds per 10 000 inhabitants. In 2001 the rates of psychiatric admissions and admitted patients per 10 000 inhabitants were 26.7 and 17.8 respectively. In the same year the percentage of involuntary admissions was 12.9%, for a total of 114 570 hospital days. Many in-patient facilities showed significant limitations in terms of architectural and logistic characteristics. Staffing showed a great variability among facilities. Conclusions: The overall number of acute beds per 10 000 inhabitants is one of the lowest in Europe. The survey has provided evidence of two parallel systems of in-patient care, a public one and a private one, which are not fully interchangeable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-177
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue numberAUG.
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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