This study was initiated in response to a provincial mental health policy emphasizing the primacy of the person and the hospital's decision to adopt total quality management. The objective of the project was to learn more about how clients and families viewed the care and services received during a psychiatric admission. Their perceptions were elicited through seven focus groups including multiple admission (3) clients and families of single and multiple admission clients (2 each). Group sessions were tape-recorded, transcribed and analysed for themes. Three major themes were identified: quantity and quality of care, individuality and partnership. Both positive and negative comments were made within each of these themes, but two major areas for improvement were continuity of care and the environment. The findings are being used to change practices within the Department of Psychiatry.