Short Takes On News & Events

Report: Nation Isn’t Ready To Meet Elderly Patients’ Mental Health Care Needs

By Christian Torres

July 10th, 2012, 3:46 PM

The U.S. is not prepared for the mental health needs of aging baby boomers, according an Institute of Medicine report released Tuesday.

A continued lack of specialists and other trained providers including primary care physicians and nurses will likely make it difficult for aging patients to receive treatment for depression, dementia and other conditions. In addition, some experts are concerned that the baby boomer population, which is a growing component of the nation’s older demographic, have an unaddressed problem with substances – namely misuse of prescription medications.

“There is a conspicuous lack of national attention either to preparing the health care workforce […] or to ensuring sufficient numbers of personnel for the rapidly growing elderly population,” the IOM committee wrote. It’s estimated that as many as one in five members of the elderly population had at least one mental health or substance use problem in 2010.

Meeting the growing needs of the elderly will require a coordinated effort among government agencies, professional societies, providers and even family caregivers, the IOM report said.

Government in particular can help by expanding training and loan forgiveness programs for health care professionals, the report suggests. It can also promote improved health care delivery through coordinated care models and through revisions to Medicare and Medicaid payment practices. For example, psychiatric case managers are not reimbursed by those programs, despite research showing that they can provide effective treatment for depression and substance abuse, said Peter Rabins, an IOM committee member and psychiatry professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

“We need to change mindsets” in both training and delivery of care, Rabins added. Health care providers, policymakers and others will have to recognize that mental health problems frequently run parallel to other medical issues and can lead to poor outcomes and higher costs.

Already, the government is pushing to improve mental health staffing for military veterans, an especially vulnerable subset of the elderly population. In April, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it would add around 1,900 psychologists and other staff.

6 Responses to “Report: Nation Isn’t Ready To Meet Elderly Patients’ Mental Health Care Needs”

  1. Suzanne Sharp says:

    As a health care professional and former caregiver for a parent with Alzheimer’s Disease, education is needed with regard to cognitive decline and aggressive behavior associated with Alzheimer’s. It was very clear to me that a legal representative should be with the AD patient at all times while hospitalized.

    Staff members will attempt communication with the patient even after being informed of the patient having neurocognitive disorder. Staff also do not understand mealtime assistance; that AD patients lose the ability to understand mealtime & do not recognize food – they have lost cognitive recognition of personal care. Whether the patient has been legally declared incompetent or not, hospital staff in my opinion do not have a clue how to properly handle the patient with neurocognitive disorder.

    I personally believe that anyone with a diagnosed neurocognitive disorder should be required to have a legal representative and/or medical surrogate prior to admission or immediately following admission. This may be a duty the social services at the hospital can help initiate since AD patients typically are hospitalized numerous times as they progress to late stage.

    I also agree with health profession loan forgiveness in return to facilitating project participation or presenting solutions in health care delivery.

  2. Wendy Brazil says:

    Let’s exploit women for spoiled little white kids.

  3. Ann Gracer, Ph.D. says:

    As a psychologist and Medicare provider, I can confidently say that unless Medicare begins paying a fare fee for mental health services, there will be no providers willing to see them. I guarantee you that if they raise the fees instead of continually cutting them, there will be more qualified providers willing to work with this population.

  4. Jackie Lushene-Edwards says:

    I really do not know what to say about these comments….In our great Country-America, USA, OBAMA is ruining us all….He is trying to take our ONLY TRUE GOD THAT MADE HEAVEN, EARTH, HUMAN, AND ALL THEREIN, out of our Country that WAS FOUNDED YEARS AGO “”IN GOD WE TRUST”"….WE AS BORN AGAIN CHRISTIANS WILL NEVER ALLOW OBAMA OR ANYONE REMOVE OUR ONLY TRUE GOD THROUGH IS SON JESUS CHRIST FROM OUR LIFE AS THAT IS OUR LIFE AND I WILL DIE FOR MY LORD JESUS CHRIST IS I MUST!!! I KNOW GOD WILL ALWAYS PROTECT AND GUIDE HIS BORN AGAIN/SAVED CHRISTIANS AND IF I DIE, I KNOW I WILL BE IN HEAVEN WITH MY DEAR LORD JESUS CHRIST…..I WILL “”NOT”"LIVE IN FEAR IN USA-MY GREAT AMERICA” AS I KNOW GOD KNOWS ALL, SEES ALL, HEARS ALL AND HE IS STILL IN CHARGE OF OUR UNIVERSE AND ABSOLUTELY NOONE OR NOTHING CAN EVER EVER CHANGE THAT…PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME!! I DO KNOW THAT AMERICAN PEOPLE BETTER WAKE UP AS AMERICA HAS BEEN WITH FREEDOM AND GOD MANY GENERATIONS BUT “”JESUS CHRIST IS COMING BACK SO SO SOON AND SATAN IS DOING ALL HE CAN TO DESTROY US ALL”"” AND I DO BELIEVE WITH ALL MY HEART AND SPIRIT THAT OBAMA IS PART OF THE SATANIC PROBLEMS TO DESTROY US ALL IN OUR GREAT COUNTRY…THE O\LY TRUE REAL THING THAT ANY OF US CAN DO IS “”" PRAY DAILY AND PRAY SINCERELY BY FAITH TO OUR GREAT GOD-LORD JESUS CHRIST AS HE DOES HEAR AND HE DOES ANSWER PRAYERS AND HE IS IN CHARGE FOR HIS PEOPLE FOREVERMORE…THANK YOU MY DEAR LORD JESUS CHRIST”"”"”!!!! I KNOW SOME THAT READ THIS WILL JUST LAUGH AT ME AND POKE FUN WITH MANY AWFUL JOKES, BUT BELIEVE ME THOSE THAT DO NOT BELIEVE ME WILL ONE DAY OPEN THIEIR EYES IN “”HELL AND TORMENT ALONG WITH THE DEVIL AND ALL HIS ANGELS”" AND THERE FOREVERMORE SUFFERING IN TORMENT AND PAIN….READ THE REAL TRUE HOLY BIBLE, GOD’S ONLY HOLY WORD FOR ANSWERS!!!! THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU AND MAY GOD PLEASE BLESS AMERICA AND GIVE US A GREAT MAN THAT TRULY BELIEVES IN GOD TO BE USA PRESIDENT AND REMOVE OBAMA ASAP….IN GOD WE WILL ALWAYS TRUST!!!!!!!!!!!
    A VERY CONCERNED BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN WHO LOVES USA, AMERICA!!!!

  5. Jackie Lushene-Edwards says:

    NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS NOW OR THE FUTHER…..AS MY GREAT CHRISTIAN MOM ALWAYS SAID”"” I WILL LIVE JUST AS LONG AS THE GOOD LORD ALLOWS ME TO LIVE AND THEN I WILL BE IN HEAVEN WITH MY DEAR LORD JESUS CHRIST WHEN I LEAVE THIS OLD SINFUL WORLD”"!!! PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME…..THAT IS THE ONLY GREAT PRIORITY OF MY LIFE….GO TO HEAVEN AND BE WITH MY LORD JESUS CHRIST FOREVER MORE AND ALL THOSE CHRISTIAN SAINTS INCLUDING MY MOM THAT ARE ALREADY THERE!!!!! PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME FOREVER………….

  6. Bonnie says:

    Jackie thank you for sharing how so many of we as born-again believers believe and know. I agree and pray our Lord will richly bless you as He provides His peace for all who love and ask Him. Jesus loves us so much, He will never let us go. Praise His Holy Name!

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