Of the 911 patients, 425 have been at state-run hospitals for over 20 years despite completing their treatment.
Mumbai: Over 911 patients housed in four state-run mental hospitals in Maharashtra are condemned to live at the medical institutions even after being cured, as they have no one to return to or have been abandoned by their family.
According to a report in The Indian Express, government-run hospitals have more to worry due to the dearth of rehabilitation programmes and hesitation of families to take the patient back in after the treatment is complete.
The dire situation has made the mental health cell in the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) to ask for at least one permanent home each, close to the four hospitals to accommodate patients who are cured.
If the proposal is approved, it would enhance the chances of these patients living a normal life and also provide space for newer patients, a DHS official was quoted as saying.
Of the 911 permanent inmates, 425 have been there for over 20 years despite completing their treatment. Similarly, around 248 patients have lived at these health centres for 10-20 years.
Thane Mental Hospital has the most number of deserted patients with 371 people as on December 31, 2017. Thane is followed by Yerwada Hospital in Pune, which has around 355 patients who have lived there for over five years.
Another major issue is the lack of staff at these crowded hospitals. For example, the Thane facility has only nine social workers to find families, counsel and rehabilitate over 400 patients. Cases of families giving false addresses during registration are also numerous, doctors were quoted as saying.
Sadly, the oldest patient at Thane has spent more than 50 years in the hospital. Such patients indulge in gardening, tailoring, cooking and cleaning and also do other menial jobs.
“They have reached a point where they are happy to live inside the hospital. They have not seen the outside world and are scared to live on their own,” medical officer Dr Anjali Deshpande was quoted as saying.
However, hoping that increased interaction between families and patients will make them take responsibility, a pilot project has been launched in Nagpur, where families are invited for lunch with patients.