Care needs of elderly people with schizophrenia. Assessment of an epidemiologically defined cohort in Scotland

S. V. McNulty, Linda Duncan, M. Semple, G. A. Jackson, A. J. Pelosi

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36 Citations (Scopus)


Background Little is known of the needs of elderly patients with psychotic illnesses.

Aims To measure the care needs of an epidemiologically based group of patients over the age of 65 years suffering from psychotic illness, using a standardised assessment.

Method All patients aged 65 years and over with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and related disorders from a defined catchment area were identified. Their health and social care needs were investigated using the Cardinal Needs Schedule.

Results The 1-year prevalence of schizophrenia and related disorders was 4.44 per 1000 of the population at risk, There were high levels of unmet need for many patients, including those in National Health Service (NHS) continuing-care beds.

Conclusions Many needs were identified, all of which could be addressed using the existing skills of local health and social care professionals. The investigation raises serious concerns about standards of hospital and community care for elderly patients with schizophrenia. The findings maybe unique, reflecting long-standing problems within a particularly hard-pressed part of the NHS. However, it is not known whether a similar situation exists in other parts of the UK.

Declaration of interest None. The study was funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Executive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-247
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 2003




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