Duties and Hierarchy of the Attendants

'Rules for Attendant Staff' Dr. Henry Landor Annual Report Malden Asylum, 1869. RMHCL

'Rules for Attendant Staff' Dr. Henry Landor Annual Report Malden Asylum, 1869. RMHCL
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Attendants   |   Duties and Hierarchy   |   Training

In keeping with the principles of moral therapy attendants were responsible for ensuring that patients were well looked after. Attendant duties included: cleaning patient rooms, making sure patients were washed, dressed, fed and engaged when applicable in occupational therapy. Attendants also assisted with administering treatment and medicine by engaging the cooperation of patients. Attendants also kept a log.

Compassionate care was the goal of the Asylum and as such, attendants were not to use violence against patients, as this was grounds for dismissal. While previously employed as superintendant at the Malden Asylum before accepting the same position at the London Asylum, Dr. Henry Landor created a list of Rules for Attendant Staff in his Annual Report which outlined his philosophy for proper conduct among attendants and how they should interact with patients.

Attendants at the asylum wore uniforms. Male attendants wore suits which were navy blue with white vertical stripes and women wore a powder blue nursing uniform and white cap. These uniforms created a sense of unity among attendant staff. Uniforms were implemented for several reasons; one was to distinguish them from the patients under their care, another was a way to exert authority.

The attendants were arranged in a hierarchical structure. There were chief male and chief female attendants and under them were what was called ordinary male and ordinary female attendants. All attendants were under the direction of the Medical Superintendent, Physicians and trained Nurses.