Author(s): Holthoff V
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The development of efficacious treatment strategies in older adults with mental illnesses is necessary. The growing number of homebound patients and the incidence of physical comorbidities and impairment of activities of daily living are important factors for interdisciplinary treatment strategies in old age and there is a need for home-based services providing medical and psychosocial interventions. OBJECTIVE: Recent studies have provided information on home-based and collaborative treatment strategies in mentally ill elderly patients. METHODS: This article provides an overview on selected randomized controlled trials (RCT) conducted with mentally ill older adults. RESULTS: Studies have shown promising effects when applying stepped care interventions, collaborative care and assertive community treatment in old patients suffering from mental diseases when compared to usual care. Long-standing home-based mental health programs have been designed and successfully implemented showing improved identification, treatment and ongoing care of mental health problems. In-home tele-psychotherapy has been shown to be efficacious in homebound older adults with limited access to evidence-based psychotherapy and showed a sustained effect in one study. CONCLUSION: Collaborative care models, stepped care interventions in primary care settings and an enhanced inter-professional approach to patient care in old age psychiatry is necessary to improve detection, treatment and ongoing care. Tele-mental health services may become important parts of the provision of mental health services and the effectiveness revealed for in-home tele-health problem solving therapy in old age depression may be an approach to make psychotherapy available to a large number of underserved elderly patients with mental illness.
This article was published in Nervenarzt
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research