Author(s): Shah A
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Abstract The elderly prison population is increasing and there is a significant amount of unidentified psychiatric morbidity among elderly prisoners. A sizeable number of elderly subjects are referred to regional forensic units. These units are able to provide advice but are reluctant to admit frail, physically ill and vulnerable elderly into their unit because the ward environment is considered inappropriate for them. A sizeable number of inpatients in medium and high secure units are elderly. This paper is an exploratory audit of referrals from a medium and high secure forensic psychiatry unit to a specialist consultation-only liaison old age psychiatry service, which was specifically developed to service the forensic unit. The demographic and clinical characteristics of the patients seen by this specialist service were similar to elderly inpatients in medium and high secure units. All referrals were judged to be appropriate and new management advice was provided in all cases. Main reasons for referral included diagnostic advice, placement advice and treatment advice. Establishing a diagnosis of dementia was considered important because Alzheimer's disease and Lewy body dementia can be treated with cholinesterase inhibitors. Placement advice was the most difficult to provide because of paucity of residential and nursing homes able and willing to accept patients with a forensic history. There is a need for a comprehensive model of specialist forensic old age psychiatry service at a regional or supraregional level. A consensus needs to be reached on the exact configuration of such a service.
This article was published in Med Sci Law
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research