Mental Illness: Elderly Patients and Healthcare Utilization

Hugh C. Hendrie, MB ChB, DSc  Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine Center Scientist, Indiana University Center for Aging Research Research Scientist, Regenstrief Institute, Inc.MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Hugh C. Hendrie, MB ChB, DSc 
Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine
Center Scientist, Indiana University Center for Aging Research
Research Scientist, Regenstrief Institute, Inc.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: Our findings of higher rates of emergency care, longer hospitalizations and increased frequency of falls, substance abuse and alcoholism suggest that seriously mentally ill older adults remain a vulnerable population.

MedicalResearch.com Where any of the findings unexpected?

Answer: The frequency of most co morbid conditions including such chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension were high but no higher than those in our comparative group of primary care patients. This is in stark contrast to comparison with younger populations, where co morbidities were much higher in severely mentally ill patients. This suggests that these elderly seriously mentally ill patients represent a survivor cohort.

MedicalResearch.com: What should patients and providers take away from this report?

Answer: Our study illustrates the continuing vulnerability of the seriously mentally ill patients as they grow older.

An integrated health care system that addresses both their medical and psychosocial needs will be required to care for these ever increasing  number of patients.

MedicalResearch.com: What future research do you recommend as a result of this study?

Answer: More comprehensive longitudinal  evaluations of mentally ill older adults that include possible transition to dementia and assessment of health care utilization and nursing home use.

Citation:

Comorbidity Profile and Healthcare Utilization in Elderly Patients With Serious Mental Illnesses

Hendrie HC, Lindgren D, Hay DP, Lane KA, Gao S, Purnell C, Munger S, Smith F, Dickens J, Boustani MA, Callahan CM.

From the Indiana University School of Medicine (HCH, MAB, CMC), Indiana University Center for Aging Research (HCH, SM, MAB, CMC), Regenstrief Institute Inc. (HCH, CP, SM, FS, MAB, CMC), Indiana University Department of Psychiatry (HCH, DH, JD), Indiana University Department of Biostatistics (KAL, SG), and MidTown Community Health Center (DH, JD, DL), Indianapolis.

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2012 Sep 21. [Epub ahead of print]

 

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