This study from Nottingham screened general medical and trauma orthopaedic admissions aged 70 or older for mental health problems. Those screening positive were invited to undergo further assessment and were interviewed to complete further health status measurements. Of 1,004 patients screened, 36% had no mental health problems or had anxiety alone. Of those screening positive 250 took part in the full study. Adjusting for the two-stage sampling design, 50% of admitted patients over 70 were cognitively impaired, 27% had delirium and 8–32% were depressed. Six per cent had hallucinations, 8% delusions, 21% apathy and 9% agitation/aggression (of at least moderate severity). Of those with mental health problems, 47% were incontinent,49% needed help with feeding and 44% needed major help to transfer.This study confirms the high prevalence of mental health problems among older adults admitted to general hospitals. These patients have high levels of functional dependency, psychological and behavioural problems which have implications for how they are cared for. The authors conclude that services that identify these problems and offer therapeutic intervention should be evaluated.
1 Goldberg SE, Whittamore KH, Harwood RH, et al. The prevalence of mental health problems among older adults admitted as an emergency to a general hospital. Age Ageing 2012;41:80–6. doi:10.1093/ageing/afr106