verb (used with object), de·in·sti·tu·tion·al·ized, de·in·sti·tu·tion·al·iz·ing.

  1. to release (a person with mental or physical disabilities) from a hospital, asylum, home, or other institution with the intention of providing treatment, support, or rehabilitation primarily through community resources under the supervision of health-care professionals or facilities.
  2. to remove (care, therapy, etc.) from the confines of an institution by providing treatment, support, or the like through community facilities.
  3. to free from the confines or limitations of an institution.
  4. to free from the bureaucracy and complex procedures associated with institutions.

verb (used without object), de·in·sti·tu·tion·al·ized, de·in·sti·tu·tion·al·iz·ing.

  1. to give up or lose institutional character or status; become deinstitutionalized.

1967 (disinstitutionalization is attested from 1955), from de- + institutionalization.


  1. The release of institutionalized people, especially mental health patients, from an institution for placement and care in the community.
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