Currently, very few psychiatrists are catering to seniors, and according to national statistics, by 2030, there will only be a ratio of 1:27,000 for geriatric psychiatrists. This is where the creation of a guide for senior mental health comes in.
A scientist and geriatric psychiatrist from Indiana University Center for Mental Health Innovation and Implementation Science, Dr. Sophia Wang, co-authored the said guide. According to her, care providers must be well versed when it comes to risks in terms of mental health for seniors.
Around 20 percent of the elderly go through depression. Likewise, it is noteworthy knowing that suicide’s highest rates are among elderly Caucasian males, Wang reiterated.
A heavy responsibility thus falls onto nurses and doctors who do not have sufficient training and experience in caring for geriatric patients, specifically those with mental health conditions. In fact, Indiana has 100 geriatricians (with fewer who concentrate on psychiatry).
Rural areas, most especially, as well as other locations in the country, there is a huge lack of geriatricians to cater to the elderly. With this, many depend on primary care physicians.
The said guide would then be able to aid such providers by showcasing symptoms and sample cases in directing diagnosis. It is the creators’ hope that health care providers may be able to come up with accurate diagnoses using it. From there, they can likewise offer proper treatment, too.
In the case of home care service providers, this guide can also be of help. Understanding how certain mental health conditions affect the elderly can really assist professionals in delivering quality health care to their patients.
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