The quality of life of long-term psychiatric inpatients relocated to the community was investigated in this study. The aim was to investigate what changes, if any occured, on standardised quality of life related instruments between discharge from hospital and at 1 year after discharge into the community. We were also interested to see if these changes continued 5 years after discharge into the community.87 long-stay psychiatric patients were enrolled in the study. Each patient was assessed on four standardised assessment instruments designed to assess their attitudes towards community living and level of functioning in the community.Patients reported being satisfied in their new community environment. They showed improvements in their level of self-care and social functioning after 1 year in the community. These improvements were not maintained in their fifth year in the community. In addition, there were no improvements in patient's domestic skills, community skills or activity and social relations levels. Weekly occupation levels increased after 5 years in the community and their level of interests in things increased over the first year but not after 5 years in the community.This study adds to the previous work carried out on patients discharged from large psychiatric hospitals into the community. Patients expressed a desire to continue to live in the community and while they showed improvements in self care and social functioning in the first year following discharge, these improvements were not sustained after 5 years in the community. Further training is needed for staff in the community residences so that patients can achieve their maximum potential.