Dependent patients and their care-givers were studied before and 1 week after a social relief admission in order to assess the effects on physical and psychological problems. Data about care-givers stress and mental health were gathered, as well as patient data. Patients' self-care abilities improved slightly but care requirements remained constant. Care-giver stress levels did not change, but there was a highly significant improvement in their mental health. The results suggest that social relief admissions enabled care-givers to continue to look after very dependent people in the community.