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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 44 (2002) 5, 333 - 338

Short report

Attention for the children of mothers admitted to psychiatric units: a dossier study

J. Joossens, G. Pieters, S. Joos

background The psychiatric admission of a mother has a strong impact on children and often upsets family life. In psychiatric practice, little attention is paid to possible negative effects of such an admission for the children.
aim To find out whether children of admitted mothers receive sufficient systematic attention in a psychiatric hospital.
method Cross-sectional descriptive study of case notes of all admitted mothers with children under the age of twenty, completed by a short interview with the physician and nursing staff concerned. The medical records were screened for mention of children and action undertaken on their behalf.
results In 29% of the dossiers, no mention of action on behalf of children was found. However, in half of the dossiers problems with the children were mentioned.
conclusion There is still too little systematic attention for children whose mother has been admitted in a psychiatric hospital. This result is supported with findings from the literature.

keywords child, mother, psychiatric admission