The aim of this project was to identify the pathway through psychiatric care beyond the point of first admission. This was carried out from the point of view of users, considering the pathway as a set of subjective experiences. Fifty interviews were conducted with people undergoing psychiatric care in a range of service settings, using a semi-structured interview schedule. Although the research was initially conceptualised in terms of pathways, the routes followed by patients proved to be too diffuse to be charted. Some patient careers were both prolonged and erratic. Patients do not follow a definite pathway; rather, they move through a set of complex stages which are often unclear. If respondents lack a subjective sense of a pathway, they feel, at least in part, that it is because they do not know what is happening.

Source: Health and Social Care in the Community 3 (6) 343-352