The care needs of elderly patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders

Paul D. Meesters, Hannie C. Comijs, Rose-Marie Dröes, Lieuwe de Haan, Johannes H. Smit, Piet Eikelenboom, Aartjan T. F. Beekman, Max L. Stek

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Elderly patients constitute the fastest growing segment of the schizophrenia population. Still, their needs for care are poorly understood. This study aimed to gain insight into the care needs of older patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Patients, aged 60 years and older, in contact with mental health services within a Dutch psychiatric catchment area, diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Needs and the extent to which these were met were assessed from the perspective of both patients and staff members. Agreement between patients and staff on the presence of needs was evaluated. In addition, the association between patient characteristics and the number of unmet needs was examined. On average, patients (N = 114, mean age: 69 years) reported 7.6 needs, of which 6.1 were met and 1.5 were unmet. Staff members reported slightly more needs, both met and unmet. Patients and staff showed consensus on the presence of most needs, but discrepancies existed in individual need areas. Psychological and social needs were unmet more often than environmental and physical needs. The number of unmet needs correlated with several patient variables, with the strongest association found for self-reported quality of life. In elderly schizophrenia patients, similar to what has been reported in younger patients, psychological and social needs appear to be under serviced. Having more unmet needs was associated with a lower perceived quality of life
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-137
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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