Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Adolescent psychotherapy-Residential treatment, Adolescent psychotherapy-Outcome assessment, Psychiatric hospitals-Admission and discharge-Planning, Recidivism, Discharge planning, Barriers, Youth, Adolescents, Residential treatment, Inpatient hospitalization


This qualitative study examines clinician perceived barriers to successful discharge planning from inpatient and residential treatment settings, as well as factors that may contribute to recidivism. Eight clinicians participated in semi-structured interviews in an attempt to elicit their views and best practices when discharging clients from treatment. Participants worked in a multitude of settings at different levels of care and were asked to evaluate both their individual approaches to discharge planning as well as practices within their agencies. Findings suggest multiple factors contributing to successful discharge plans, though clinicians reported having control over only a fraction of these factors. For example, patient 'buy in' regarding the treatment plan and keeping the client and family actively engaged is shown to have an effect on successful discharge. Furthermore, how families are presented with information and how it is perceived was shown to contribute to success following discharge. Additionally, plans that cater to the client, as opposed to generic plans, are needed to meet individual needs. Factors identified as out of the clinician's hands include managed care restrictions, which greatly influence the types of referrals made following discharge, as well as management of long-term mental health issues that often increase the odds of future re-placement. Most noteworthy, lack of community resources to meet the demands of current youth mental health was identified. While participant responses were insightful as to how to address potential barriers to treatment planning, there remain factors that clinicians have little influence over.




iii, 67 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 61-63)