A day hospital is an outpatient facility where patients attend for assessment, treatment or rehabilitation during the day and then return home or spend the night at a different facility. The patient groups most likely to receive this sort of hospital provision are elderly people, those with psychiatric problems, and those with physical rehabilitative needs. It is also used for some cancer treatments, as at New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and London's UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre.
In the United Kingdom, day hospitals originated in the late 1950s with a focus on rehabilitation for frail older people, enabling many to remain in their own homes. Comprehensive assessment and a range of specialised services have since been introduced. Day hospitals in the UK are normally run by an NHS trust and focus on therapeutic assessment and management, as distinct from "day care" facilities run by local authorities or voluntary agencies and offering social support. They may operate on a sessional basis rather than throughout the day, and may rotate between locations from day to day.
Day hospital services for elderly people have existed in Sweden since the early 1950s and continue to expand, with 1,600 places in the country. Day hospitals are integrated with primary health care and social care.
In Australia, many older people receive care in day hospitals, but for patients with psychiatric conditions day hospitals have largely been superseded by community mental health teams.
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