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Fairfield State Hospital


Fairfield State Hospital is Connecticut’s third state institution for the mentally ill. Construction begin on September 3, 1930 in the town of Newtown Connecticut. Many of the community residents were not happy and resisted its location in their town. With the pressure of Norwich State Hospital and Connecticut State Hospital being over whelmed with patients the location would have to do. The layout of the campus would be a cottage plan with a colonial buildings made of brick and white wooden porches and columns. The buildings would be separate but connected with underground tunnels. This would help with travel for patients, nurses, doctors, and the dead if needed. The new hospital open on June 10, 1931 with only two buildings, Shelton and Greenwich Houses. The new hospital would not be able to receive its own patients because it needed to take pressure off the two over crowded state hospitals first. It wasn’t until the 1940s with the completion of Kent and Canaan Houses that the hospital was finally able to treat people in the community but transfers from the two hospitals would still continue. To deal with the demands of overcrowding and transfers, major construction took place in the 40s and 50s on institution campus. Creating more facilities and housing for the growing hospital would result in 16 buildings on 100 acres of land. The buildings were named after Fairfield and Litchfield County towns and cities. The hospital offered many forms of occupational therapy and treatments to its patients like insulin shock therapy, hydrotherapy, frontal lobotomies, and electroconvulsive therapy to those who needed it. At the height of the institution it had over 2,500 patients being treated. In 1963 the hospital changed its name to the Fairfield Hills Hospital. With the high turnovers from staff and increasing number of admissions, the hospital was stressed and struggled to give the best quality of care to its patients. By the 1970s most of the departments in the hospital would function independently from each other instead of as one unit. Changes in the mental health community started to take place in the 80s. To improve the quality of life for the mentally ill, new treatment plans were implemented. The objective was to help them return to the community to live a better life. With the new treatment plans in effect, more and more discharges from the hospital took place resulting in the population to decrease.


With the high cost of running state hospitals and deinstitutionalization of patients, Governor John Rowland closed Fairfield and Norwich State Hospital in 1995. Any remaining patents would be transferred to Connecticuts first state hospital in Middletown. Fairfield State Hospital closed its doors on December 8th.


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