Tuesday, August 16, 2005


There was a NY Times article today that outlined the degradation that people experience when they are admitted to hospitals or health care systems. I was a little bothered by the fact that this was presented as some type of news flash. I guess no one was listening over 30 years ago when Madelaine Gray talked about the same issue. This is probably too arcane for non-OT readers to find, but the citation is: Gray, M. (1972). Effects of hospitalization on work-play behavior, American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 26, 180-185.

So there are a few problems here. First, we knew about a problem over 30 years ago, discussed it and debated it, but here we still are without a solution. That is just inexcusable, and I wouldn't blame patients for revolting.

Second, how frustrating is it to be Madelaine Gray? I don't know if she is alive, and I doubt this could ever reach her ears or eyes, but I wish I could tell her that someone did hear her and that she was correct.

As for the Times article, it is around 30 years too late.

1 comment:

Madelaine Gray said...

Hi Chris....you may be surpised...but I did find your post about the NY Times article and my study of the effects of hospitalization. Over the years, I have heard many people say that they have referred to my study...and it is gratifying to know that my ideas are not just sitting on a shelf.

Although I have not done another study on effects of hospitalization, I'm sure that in some areas things have improved and in others that the hospital environment has worsened - due to the focus on financial survival.

What I think is most important is for each of us to do what we can, in any environment, to assess and analyze the impact of the environment on ourselves and others - and then to do whatever we can to change the environment so that it promotes dignity, self-respect, individuality, and optimal functioning.

I am no longer working directly in occupational therapy - but the principles and ideals of occupational therapy still guide my life. I established my photography business about 19 years ago...and sell my photographs at art shows and exhibitions. If you are interested, please visit www.madelainegray.com.

My best wishes to you, Madelaine