November 14, 2013
Regenstrief and IU study: Older adults with severe mental illness challenge healthcare system
Social Worker Continuing Education The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry study notes, "The increased likelihood of falls together with the significantly greater number of emergency department visits and length of hospitalization also suggest that those with severe mental illness represent a vulnerable elderly population that deserve more intensive studies, leading hopefully to a better integrated model of medical and psychiatric care including consideration of psychosocial factors." Individuals with severe mental illness in the study were patients of Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health. The patients had severe chronic depression (48 percent), schizophrenia (39 percent) and bipolar disorder (14 percent). Others in the study were patients from Wishard-Eskenazi primary care sites. "This study highlights a major challenge faced by older adults with severe mental illnesses and the increased burden it places on our health care system," said Julie L. Szempruch, RN, CNS, associate vice president of Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health. ### Authors of "Comorbidity Profile and Healthcare Utilization in Elderly Patients With Serious Mental Illnesses," in addition to Drs. Hendrie and Callahan, are Donald Lindgren, LCSW, Donald P. Hay, M.D., Kathleen A. Lane, M.S., Sujuan Gao, Ph.D., Christianna Purnell, B.A., Stephanie Munger, M.P.H., Faye Smith, M.A., Jeanne Dickens, M.D., and Malaz A. Boustani, M.D., M.P.H. The study was supported by National Institute of Mental Health grant MH080827-01A1.