The Camberwell Elderly Mentally Ill and Their Needs for Services

Centre for Psychiatry, Bart's and London Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, UK.
International Journal of Social Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 1.15). 02/2009; 55(1):82-90. DOI: 10.1177/0020764008093450
Source: PubMed


Previous studies on the elderly mentally ill (graduates) have been undertaken in mental hospital settings and on populations being resettled from hospitals. This paper aims to assess the characteristics and service needs of an epidemiological sample of elderly mentally ill.
The aim of this study was to identify the characteristics, problems, service utilization and needs of a sample of elderly patients with functional psychosis in a defined epidemiological area.
Data collected by PRiSM on psychotic patients who lived in two districts of Maudsley Hospital's catchment area were analyzed using the characteristics, problems and the needs for mental health services of those patients who were over the age of 64. These patients were compared with younger patients using the same data.
The elderly patients differed significantly in their characteristics and problems from the younger mentally ill persons. The needs assessment procedure (Camberwell Assessment of Needs, CAN) was less sensitive to physical and psychiatric needs of the elderly as it did not reflect the differences between the two age groups.
The lower rate of schizophrenia in the elderly mentally ill compared to the younger community patients and asylum mentally ill is discussed. The explanation may lie in the natural history of the disorder or more plausibly in the implementation of ;community care policy'. The paper concluded that a needs assessment procedure specifically designed to assess the needs of the elderly is required.

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