With the aging of the U.S. population, an increase in the use of the psychiatric emergency room by elderly persons is expected. In this study of 118 elderly persons seen in a general hospital psychiatric emergency room, half had a history of psychiatric illness. A third appeared to have chronic organic brain disease, and a third had affective disorders. Misprescription or misuse of medications was implicated in the problems of 27 patients. The problems of most patients were not emergencies; most had experienced symptoms of their presenting complaint for more than six months, finally overtaxing the coping capacities of their caregivers. The authors discuss factors that prevent elderly persons from seeking help on their own and emphasize the need for earlier interventions with elderly patients and for education of the public and professionals about issues, such as overmedication, that are important in the care of elderly persons.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health