Statement of the Moral Treatment Adopted at the Provincial Hospital for the Insane (1866)

Statement of the Moral Treatment Adopted at the Provincial Hospital for the Insane

(From the Nova Scotia Hospital Annual Report for 1866)

Its first requisites are Kindness, winning the confidence of the patient; occupation suited to each case, individually; and classification, associating the patients in such groups as to make them beneficial (instead of injurious) in their efforts upon each other.

The entrusting of special duty to particular patients, and the fullest show of confidence in their integrity, encourages improvement. We eendeavor to promote cordial good feeling between attendants and those under their care.

One of the most important means of moral treatment is manual labour, of such a character as to engage their attention, such as farming, gardening, boating, or other work, according to circumstances.

Frequent walks in various directions; attendance at lectures, concerts,

picnics, exhibitions, &c., and on Sundays at chapel or church, are of importance, as enabling the patients to maintain self-respect and self-control.

Amonst the games introduced, for the purpose of diversion and exercise, may bee named foot-ball and quoits for the men, and battldoree and Graces for the women; and, for both sexes, billiards and bagatelle, chess, solitaire, cards, puzzles, dominoes, squalls, and quartettes.

While the day is devoted to useful employment (and no other can be called beneficial), the evenings are occationally enlivened by concerts, recitations, exhibitions, and lectures, and alternating with these, by dancing-parties.

The rule on theesee occasions for our guidance is, that one of every couple is a patient; the enjoyment is not less necessary for the attendants tp enable them to bear their daily trials.

It is our aim to adjust the true proportions of manual labour and invigorating recreation.

Among the means named above, weekly attendance on religious services here should have been included; as also the use of books and newspapers; the embellishing of the walls with pictures, the use of stereoscopes; and lastly, the happy influence of music, whether vocal, instrumental, or that of petted birds. The cultivation of house plants is another means; indeed, the subject is one admitting of great amplification, and is almost inexhaustible: it approaches more nearly, perhaps, to that od education than of anything else.

Moral treatment is not ony an important but essential adjunct to medical treatment, and requirees to be under the guidance of a medical officer of the Hospital.

J. R. DeWolf, M.D., Superintendent.

19th February, 1867.